Webster Vienna Commencement Celebrates Class of 2024 at Hofburg Palace

Webster Vienna Graduates toss their caps into the air at the end of the ceremony.The Class of 2024 from Webster Vienna Private University tosses their caps in the air to celebrate their newly-earned degrees.

On May 18, Webster Vienna Private University (WVPU) conferred degrees upon more than 85 graduates during a commencement ceremony held at the historic Hofburg Imperial Palace. 

Faculty, staff, family members and friends gathered with a celebratory air to honor the accomplishments of the 2024 graduating class. This year’s graduates, representing nearly 40 countries, are now the newest members of the Webster University Alumni Association. Alexandra Deubner of WVPU Career Services served as this year’s master of ceremony. 

University leadership follows a graduate who leads the procession holding a Webster University flag.The commencement procession begins into the historic Hofburg Palace.

WVPU Rector Johannes Pollak opened the ceremony with a welcome address. 

“Your biggest task in life is not to pass yet another exam, collect yet another academic title, to find the perfect job. It is to discover what that end is for you. What does a happy life look like for you?” Rector Johannes Pollak said, urging the graduates toward introspection and discovery. 

Rector Johannes Pollak stands at the commencement podium in regalia.Rector Johannes Pollak speaks to the graduates at the Webster Vienna Private University Commencement.

The 2024 commencement speaker was Nenad Pacek. Pacek is a former executive vice president of the Economist Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit where he spent almost two decades. Within the Economist Group, Pacek ran the corporate advisory division for emerging markets.  

“I have learned there is no shortcut to success and no substitute for working hard. I have never ever met anyone successful who was lazy. Dream big, but big dreams tend not to come true unless you put a lot of effort, focus, attention and discipline into it. Positive mindset is good, but has to be combined with work ethic,” Pacek told the audience. 

During the last decade, Pacek served as founder and president of Global Success Advisors and EMEA Business Group, corporate services that work with global and regional EMEA management teams of over 500 multinational corporations, helping them understand global and regional geopolitical, economic and business issues that will impact corporations in the future.  

Pacek is the author of three books on emerging markets’ business and economic issues, one book on the global economy and the new book on the rise of China and Chinese multinationals.  

Stefano Cantini and Melanie Smith of the Vienna Chapter of the Webster University Alumni Association presented the Alumni Association Awards, along with Jeanette Miller, WVPU alumna and visiting faculty member and 2008 Bronwyn K. Mitterecker Alumni Awardee. This year’s Bronwyn Awardee is Janina Mank. The Student Leadership Award was presented to Michael James Self. 

The recipients of the 2024 faculty awards were Franco Algieri and Suzanne Preston-Mroz (Diversity in Teaching) and Marco Bocchese and Andrea Gaal (Excellence in Teaching). Teachers of the Year awards went to Marco Bocchese (Faculty) and Ralph G. Schoellhammer (Adjunct Faculty). 

Rector Pollak, along with Academic Services Officer Maida Kojic-McAndrew, conferred the degrees of the graduating students, followed by a valedictorian address by Muriel Johanna Mrosik. 
The celebration continued with a champagne reception in the Hofburg Palace for graduates and their more than 450 guests. Vienna Insurance Group provided generous sponsorship of the commencement ceremony, and Erste Group also provided valuable support. 

Congratulations to the class of 2024! 

Webster Vienna Private University Class of 2024, seated for a group photo in graduation regalia.The Webster Vienna Private University Class of 2024.

WVPU is a premier research university, whose challenging yet collegial classroom environments provide students with research experience and academic skills necessary to succeed in their chosen career path. Webster Vienna is thrilled to send off this year’s graduates onto the next steps in their academic or professional careers, as well as chosen life paths.  

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