On May 25th, Converse College held its 110th Commencement Exercises in Twichell Auditorium. During the service, the honorary doctor of laws degree was conferred upon Darla D. Moore, a national business leader and philanthropist whose name headlines the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. The award from Converse College is Ms. Moore’s first honorary doctorate degree. Moore also gave the commencement address to one-hundred-seventy seniors in Converse’s Class of 2002.
Ms. Moore spoke to the graduates of here career in business, noting the distinct disadvantage she faced as a female from the deep rural South and her ability to turn that disadvantage into her greatest asset. “Don’t underestimate your liabilities,” she said, “they may actually be your assets.” She went on to offer a few pieces of hard-learned advice from her own experiences to the graduating seniors. “Be confident; there is no substitute for confidence. Find something you love and become the best in the world at that one thing. Be decisive; learn how to make decisions whether they are right or wrong. Don’t shrink from confrontation or uncertainty; this is where opportunity lies. Don’t take things personally; learn to ‘put it on a shelf.’ Humor is one of the greatest assets you can have throughout your career.”
In closing, Ms. Moore left the graduates with a final thought, “You walk out of this room today with something that no one else has: the sole custody of your life. You can make it anything you want it to be. It is up to you.”
Upon receiving her honorary degree Darla Moore thanked two former chairmen of the Converse Board of Trustees, Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet and Chairman of Extended Stay America, George Dean Johnson, for encouraging her to come to Converse. She said “it is quite moving to receive a doctorate degree and I am very honored to be at Converse College today.”
A native of Lake City, SC, Darla Moore is Executive Vice President of Rainwater, Inc., one of the largest private investment firms in America. She holds a BA degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, and an MBA from George Washington University.
The University of South Carolina is the first comprehensive university to name its Business School after a woman, The Moore School of Business. Ms. Moore serves on the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees.
Ms. Moore is affiliated with a number of prestigious corporate and not-for-profit Boards of Directors. She is on the boards of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and MPS Group, Inc. She is a member of the board of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (one of the world’s finest libraries), vice chairman of the New York University School of Medicine Foundation Board and a member of the JP Morgan Chase National Advisory Board.
Prior to joining Rainwater, Inc. in 1994, Ms. Moore was a managing Director of Chase Bank. Widely recognized for her success in finance, she has received numerous awards in banking and finance. In addition, her career has been the subject of many feature articles in business and women’s publications including Fortune, Forbes, Working Woman, Worth, Reader’s Digest and The Wall Street Journal as well as the subject of a CNN profile. Ms. Moore is the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune Magazine in its 70 year history and was named to their list of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business.
“Darla Moore is one of the most accomplished business women in the United States. She cares passionately about South Carolina and has made many contributions to the betterment of our state,” said George Dean Johnson, Chairman of Extended Stay America and former chairman of the board at Converse College.
“It is appropriate that Converse College, who is dedicated to women’s liberal arts education, honor a w