Trulaske College of Business celebrates spring graduates, honorary degree recipient Don Walsworth

Spring Commencement

Nearly 900 students graduated May 12 from the Trulaske College of Business. This spring's ceremony included the presentation of an honorary doctorate degree to longtime Mizzou supporter Don Walsworth, chief executive officer of Walsworth in Marceline, Missouri. 


The Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business held its spring 2024 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 12, at Mizzou Arena. Students receiving master’s degrees from the college were recognized during the MU Graduate School ceremony on the same day at Jesse Auditorium. In total, the graduating class included nearly 900 students.

Spring commencement 2024
More than 800 students from the Trulaske College of Business graduated on May 12 in the Mizzou Arena.

This semester’s commencement ceremony also included the presentation of an honorary doctorate degree to longtime University of Missouri supporter Don Walsworth, chief executive officer of Walsworth in Marceline, Missouri, and 1957 graduate of Mizzou.    

In his remarks, Walsworth thanked the university for his honor.

“I am forever grateful for this distinction,” he said. “I want to congratulate all of you, the newest graduates of the Trulaske College of Business, for all that you have accomplished. I’m proud to share this day with you and wish you all the best life has to offer.”

Walsworth has long been a generous donor to organizations and causes that are important to him. But his single largest philanthropic benefactor has been Mizzou. Over the years, he has supported the Trulaske College of Business, where he was a founding member and former chair of the Herbert J. Davenport Society. He is a past chair of the Trulaske Dean’s Advisory Board and in 2014, delivered the commencement speech to the college’s graduating class, which included his grandson, Alexander Wood, BS BA ’14. Learn more about Walsworth here

Students celebrated with family and friends during the 2024 spring commencement. 

Each semester, the Trulaske Student Council holds interviews with graduating seniors who have applied for the chance to speak at the commencement ceremony. Of these applicants, only one is chosen for the special honor. Lucas Hayes, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in economics, business administration and international studies, was selected to speak at the ceremony. 

Hayes also graduated with minors in Luso-Brazilian area studies, as well as leadership and public service. During his time at Trulaske, he served as a director of the Trulaske Leadership conference for three years, held a variety of leadership positions with Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, supported the college’s Vasey Academy as a Vasey ambassador and was a scholar in the Cornell Leadership Program. He is a past recipient of the Edward J. Rapp Excellence in Leadership Award. 

“The real value that our degree provides us with is a foundation of experiences that will propel us into our successful lives. These experiences —both academic and personal — have shaped us into the individuals we are today,” Hayes said. “They have equipped us with the skills, knowledge, and resilience needed to thrive in an ever-evolving world. We should strive to put ourselves out on the edge in whatever path we choose to pursue, knowing that our time at Trulaske has prepared us well for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Dean Balaji Rajagopalan
Dean Balaji Rajagopalan encouraged graduates to embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead. 

Robin Wenneker, BS BA '91, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, conferred the degrees for the class, and Dean Balaji Rajagopalan gave the final remarks.

“Each one of you has experienced a journey of growth, learning and discovery during your time at the Trulaske College of Business,” said Rajagopalan. “You have taken advantage of a place that encourages innovation, creativity and leadership, honing your critical thinking skills and pushing your own limits. Today, as you begin your next chapter, I have no doubt that you are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

In closing, Rajagopalan offered several words of advice: 

  • “Continue the work ethic that you developed here. It’s most difficult to keep this up when the outcomes are different from what you expect. That’s exactly when you need to double down on your work ethic.
  • Surround yourself with people who have positive energy. You will be amazed how much this will influence you.
  • Lift others at every opportunity. Learn to rejoice in the joy of others.
  • Value people and relationships. Your happiness will come from the memories of laughing with your family and friends etched in your mind, not from pictures stored in your digital gadgets.
  • Do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.”

Congratulations to Trulaske’s newest alumni!


Image: congratulations graduates!


View the student slideshow