It was a terrific week on the Georgetown University campus last week since it was Graduation Week.  I attended the commencement ceremonies for the Sports Industry Management graduate program (School of Continuing Studies) on Friday afternoon and for the McDonough School of Business (undergrad) on Saturday evening.  In addition, I participated in the Tropaia ceremonies for MSB and SCS, attended the receptions for both schools and also went to a couple of families receptions throughout the weekend.

Each year, one of my personal highlights is attending the graduation ceremonies and then meeting the families of my students.  It’s great to meet the parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.  I think it takes on an even more personal nature for me since I still look back fondly at the look of pride on my parents’ face when I received my MBA over 20 years ago.   It’s particularly poignant since I lost my father four years ago.  But, I’m cheered up each year during graduation thinking of how proud the families are when watching their son / daughter walk across the stage to receive their diploma (it’s also one of the reasons I love serving as a “hooder” during the SIM graduation — to be able to personally congratulate our students).

This weekend also makes me reflect on my 7+ years at Georgetown Univ.  It’s been a wonderful ride and one I look forward for many years to come.   I’ve taught “Sports Marketing Strategy” in the undergraduate business program for the past seven years.  And I currently serve as the “Visiting Professor” for the Sports Industry Management program.  It’s a hybrid role of teaching (Sports Digital Media, Sports Leadership and Management, Global  Economics / Under Armour, Capstone, etc); advising students and faculty; and leading business development for the SIM program (we will be creating international partnerships as we strive toward our goal of being the world’s best sports management program).  This Fall, I will start teaching a MBA course, “Social Technology Marketing.”

It’s wonderful being part of the Georgetown family.  I’ve also been able to strategically connect my two businesses, JLynn Associates and Human Equity, with the programs and classes I teach.    The latter venture is a new digital media solutions company we just launched in April — and I’m proud to note that three of our former SIM students are part of the team.  Btw, many of my students know that I’m constantly preaching about the importance of Digital / Social Media — so it was terrific to have the CEO of Living Social, Tim O’Shaugnessy, deliver the commencement address for MSB as well as to have our MSB Dean, David Thomas, eloquently use five of his best Tweets, as important lessons for the graduating business students.

In addition to the business tie-ins, I’m also so very proud of philanthropic / non-profit work of our students.  As one who serves on a number of non-profit boards, I’m constantly telling my students about the importance of “giving back” to the community.  This is also part of my “Pay It Forward” promise to my long-time mentor and friend, Ted Leonsis, who is a proud Georgetown graduate and member of the GU board.  He was mentored by the legendary Father Durkin — Ted has taught my generation about giving back and helping others — now it’s turn to pass this on to our students.  I’m proud of my former and current students that are involved with “Teach for America,” our MSB partnership with Year Up as well as many other organizations.  I’ve also had a few students tell me they’re going to make the transition from banking / private finance to get involved with leadership of non-profit organizations.

In summary, I’m grateful to be part of this Georgetown community (most of you know I’m a proud AU alum but they don’t have a sports management type of program).   It’s great to see the growth of our Sports Industry Management program and I’m excited to be adding a MBA course to teach later this year.  But, most importantly, it was so wonderful to see so many students graduate on this special weekend.   Hoya Saxa.