Congratulations Class of 2019


What a journey! It’s been a year full of learning, making new friends, studying for exams, drinking coffee, consuming as many tacos as possible, and so much more. The Master in Professional Accounting Program Office and the Department of Accounting were thrilled to celebrate the MPA Class of 2019 at Commencement on Saturday, May 25.

Family, friends, faculty, and staff came together on Saturday to congratulate over 300 students (including integrated, traditional, and ECON MPAs) graduating from the Master in Professional Accounting program.

Before walking across that stage, an MPA Commencement Reception was held in the Graduate School Building Atrium. The food was plentiful and the photo booth was lively as graduating students and their families mingled with faculty and staff from the McCombs School of Business. It was a great way to kick off an exciting day ahead.

MPA graduation photobooth


Students then headed across Speedway to Gregory Gymnasium to get ready to receive their diplomas! Over 200 MPA students and faculty members were a part of the ceremony, including MPA Senior Director Steve Smith, Department Chair Michael Clement, and Dean Jay Hartzell. They all mentioned in their speeches how this class continued to exceed expectations and how bright these students’ futures are.

Dean Jay Hartzell

Dean Jay Hartzell along with faculty and students making their way to Gregory Gymnasium for the 2019 MPA Commencement.


Our keynote speaker was Brien Smith, the Managing Director of Neuberger Berman and the COO of the Neuberger Berman Private Equity Division. Mr. Smith received a Master in Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Brien Smith

Brien Smith of Neuberger Berman and MPA alum was our keynote speaker.


We also had graduating MPAs share their experiences in the program. James Olsen is an iMPA who was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is a first generation college student. Alec Weismann is also an iMPA student and grew up in Minnesota. They both are outstanding people and future leaders, and we loved their speeches on how this Class of 2019 “truly will change the world.”

James Olsen

iMPA student James Olson closing out his speech.


Additionally, student awards were given out during Commencement. Adam Landefeld won the Outstanding 4th Year MPA Award. Adam’s outstanding academic performance has earned him several scholarships including the competitive Endowed Presidential Scholarship.  According to one of his instructors, Adam “is a natural leader and was prepared for class with interesting questions.  He was a delight to teach!”

Adam Landefeld

Adam Landefeld and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Alec Weissman won the Outstanding 5th Year MPA Award. Alec also worked as a TA for accounting professor Jeff Johanns who explained that Alec “demonstrated dedication way above a typical TA” by, among other things, volunteering to mentor a struggling student.  Academically, Alec is among the highest performing MPAs with a graduate GPA of 4.0.

Alec Weissman

Alec Weissman and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Derek John received the MPA Outstanding Student Leadership Award for his meritorious service and support of the Master in Professional Accounting program and community. Derek was a Peer Career Consultant (PCC) and continually went above and beyond to ensure MPA students were getting all they could out of their time at Texas McCombs… From recording webinars to conducting mock interviews to reviewing resumes, Derek added something special to the program, and we are so thankful to have had him as a student and PCC!

Derek John

Derek John and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Emily O’Keefe received the Outstanding tMPA Award for her exceptional contributions to student life and class unity through demonstrations of personal character, class spirit, and campus leadership. She was also the person to close out the MPA Commencement Ceremony by singing “The Eyes of Texas.” Congratulations, Emily!

Emily O'Keefe

Emily O’Keefe and MPA Senior Director Steve Smith.


Even though the Ceremony lasted almost two hours, it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. MPAs hugged and took pictures together, then said their goodbyes. It’s always bittersweet to see our students move on to the next chapter in their lives, but we know they truly will change the world and will always be Longhorns. We are so proud of the graduating MPA Class of 2019 and cannot wait to see what they accomplish. Hook ‘em!

 Congratulations to the MPA Class of 2019!

Congratulations to the MPA Class of 2019!