Photo caption: A total of 1,400 UW-Eau Claire students graduated on Saturday during three commencement ceremonies.
Alumnus Horacio Rozanski urged University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduates on Saturday to follow their values as they confront difficult choices in today’s complicated world.
“My hope for you, and for all of us, is that you will choose to know your values, live your values, and make a difference in your family, your community, our country and the world,” Rozanski said.
Rozanski, who received the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association’s Lifetime Excellence Award on Friday night, gave the “Charge to the Class” to 1,400 students during three commencement ceremonies at Zorn Arena on Saturday.
Rozanski is CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., a management and government consulting firm that is recognized as an industry leader and innovator in areas such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Rozanski grew up in Argentina and came to the U.S. to attend UW-Eau Claire, where he graduated summa cum laude in business administration in 1990. His future wife, Cinthia, also came to Eau Claire from Argentina and graduated magna cum laude in accounting in 1992. She received an Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award from the Alumni Association on Friday night.
“Cinthia and I chose to be immigrants, and we chose to adopt the values of this country,” Rozanski said. “Coming to Eau Claire showed us we were right. People here valued hard work, cared for one another, showed kindness to strangers. Being here helped us know what we valued, and to discover a whole new side of ourselves. The side that wanted to give back.”
The Rozanskis have developed a passion for paying it forward. He chairs the board of Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and serves on the board of CARE USA, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee of Conscience. The couple supports several philanthropic causes, ranging from scholarships for UW-Eau Claire students to assistance for medical residents.
Rozanski told graduates they should remain authentic and vulnerable to build trust and dispel fear in their future leadership roles.
“As a teacher or a nurse or a musician or an accountant, you’ll be challenged to make decisions that affect other people. That’s the essence of leadership,” Rozanski said. “And you can only lead successfully if you know your values. What matters to you will fundamentally shape the decisions you make. And people will only follow you, or accept your decisions, if they understand who you are, what you value.”
Chancellor James Schmidt reminded graduates that they are a formidable, compassionate group capable of great accomplishments. A Blugold degree indicates graduates have done the work to catch up on the history of human knowledge.
“An education isn’t something that’s given to you; it’s something you seek out and actively participate in,” Schmidt said. “Armed with everything you have learned about the world, you can now explore new venues for making a difference.”