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U.S. Small Business Administrator Challenges College of Business and Public Management Graduates to Seize the Future

U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Guzman

Isabella Guzman recalled for graduates of the University of La Verne College of Business and Public Management (CBPM) the time in senior year of high school when her confidence was tested. “I’ll never forget the day my college counselor told me I didn’t have a chance of getting accepted by my top choice. He told me to settle for a different option instead. But my confidence, my belief in myself pushed me to work harder and prove him wrong.”

Today, Guzman is administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. The SBA has a lending portfolio of more than a trillion dollars. “Go out there and seize the future you’ve been imagining since your first stepped onto a ULV campus,” she told the graduates. “The future in now yours.”

Guzman was the featured speaker at the virtual commencement ceremony live-streamed on May 29 for the 560 CBPM spring 2021 graduates. It was one of three celebrations the university has organized for graduates this spring. Drive-thru parades held on campus May 15 and 23 and an in-person regalia event at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino also provide opportunities for families and friends to cheer on their graduates.

In her remarks during the commencement ceremony, student speaker Jessica Murray reflected on the question she says graduates are often asked: “What have you learned?” She used “P.A.N.D.E.M.I.C” to summarize her answer: Patience. Adaptability. Niceness. Determination. Empathy. Motivation. Intuition. Courage. “Whenever you find yourself unsure of what to do next,…” she said, “remember this word. Remember how it changed your life.” She concluded, “Who knew that something so unbelievably tragic to humanity could end up providing a little bit of illumination and productivity?”

University President Devorah Lieberman presided over the ceremony. She told graduates, “This is your time. Make every moment count. Think big, accomplish much, and always give back.” She welcomed the graduates to the university’s alumni family that now numbers approximately 87,000 members around the world. “I have confidence that each of you has a limitless capacity for positive contributions to the world and countless prospects to lead a productive and fulfilling life,” she said. “I am now proud to call you esteemed alumni of the University of La Verne, and from this day forward you are Leos for life!”