Stephen M. Smith
COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES, MAY 20, 2018
Stephen M. Smith ’92
Doctor of Business Management
Citation presented by Helen Takacs
Associate Professor of International Business & Management and of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program
Conferring of the degree by Margee M. Ensign, President
Stephen M. Smith, we honor you today not only for your achievements as a business executive, but also, and perhaps more importantly, for how you do this work. Yes, you have led international business units in Belgium, China and England, but it is not your geographic path to success that sets you apart.
Today, we recognize you for grounding your business decisions in your values and for showing us that values-driven management results in a strong financial bottom line as well as improved employee well-being, enhanced customer satisfaction and better stewardship of our natural environment.
You have spoken of managing from both sides of your brain. At Dickinson, you majored in art history and minored in physics. You continue to approach business decisions through a lens that combines quantitative and qualitative analysis. You note that you are the “product of a good liberal-arts education” that sharpened your critical thinking skills and engaged your curiosity. You are inspired by the intellectual challenge of understanding different cultures. At a height of 6’6”, it’s not surprising that you were a member of, and captained during your senior year, Dickinson’s basketball team. From this highly formative team experience, you learned the values of hard work and sacrificing for others. Your work ethic continues to revolve around uniting people and working together.
In your current position as president and CEO of L.L.Bean, you are focusing the company on joy, and specifically on the joy of being outside. You believe that we can be restored and refreshed by nature, whether we are experiencing it during a camping trip in Yosemite or a lunchtime stroll through Central Park. For you and for L.L.Bean, the joy of the outdoors is amplified when it is shared with friends and family. Joy and sharing: two values that guide your business decisions.
L.L.Bean’s corporate manifesto, recently developed under your leadership, is subtly but intentionally inclusive. It reads, in part, “Welcome to the outside … You don’t need a passport to come here … or a membership to belong here … wherever you are, join us, because on the inside we are all outsiders.”
In ways that are both quiet and not so quiet, you make decisions that do good. L.L.Bean has expanded its manufacturing operations in the U.S. After the high school shootings in Parkland, Florida, L.L.Bean was one of the first companies to publicly support responsible gun sales. And, this year, L.L.Bean committed to using sustainably grown cotton by joining the Cotton LEADS program.
President Ensign, for his commitment to leading with a global, reflective and generous mindset, it is my honor to present to you Stephen M. Smith for the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Management.
Stephen M. Smith, upon the recommendation of the Faculty to the Board of Trustees, and by its mandamus, I confer upon you the Degree of Doctor of Business Management, honoris causa, with all the rights, privileges and distinction thereunto appertaining, in token of which I present you with this diploma and cause you to be invested with the hood of Dickinson College appropriate to the degree.