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Just four years ago, approximately 400 then-high school seniors made the decision to attend the Wharton School.

Their journey at Penn came to a close last Sunday morning when the Wharton undergraduates gathered for their final celebration as a Wharton class, graduating before thousands of cheering parents, friends and family members at Franklin Field.

Wharton Dean Patrick Harker spoke to the students in his first graduation address as dean of the business school.

Harker, who was appointed to his new post last February, offered the graduates two simple words of advice for life after Penn -- "think big."

"I want you to understand that when Joseph Wharton thought big, he was thinking about others," Harker noted of the Wharton School's founder.

"Now it's your turn. Think big," Harker continued. "I know you can do remarkable things."

Remembering back to his own experiences with the Wharton Class of 2000, Harker said he was continually impressed with this graduating class.

"In my 15 years as a Wharton professor, I've never gotten over the creativity, energy and dedication of its students," he said.

Graduating senior Lee Hower soon followed Harker, also offering his classmates simple words of advice.

"Wherever your path leads you, make it a happy journey," he instructed the graduates. "That is the true measure of success."

Both the crowd and the graduates expressed the happiness Hower referred to throughout the ceremony, with parents waving umbrellas to catch the attention of their graduate, and students using cell phones to call friends in the stands.

And as students took their respective turns walking across the stage and receiving their diplomas, cheers echoed throughout the stadium at Franklin Field.

Awards were also given to both faculty and students at Sunday's graduation. Harker presented Accounting Professor Madhav Rajan and Legal Studies Professor Alan Strudler with the David Hauck Teaching Award.

--Stacy Humes-Schulz

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