164th Commencement Ceremony Held at Mount Union College
May 18, 2010
Robert Mahoney, chairman emeritus of the board of Diebold, Incorporated and a member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees shared with the 455 Mount Union College graduates his own personal thoughts on the important keys to their future success during his Commencement address on Saturday, May 8 at the 164th Commencement ceremony.
“Work hard and work smart, listen and learn from your mentors,” said Mahoney. “Find ways to not only improve your performance, but the performance of others as well. Stay close to your important relationship with Mount Union and the friendships you have developed on campus.”
During Mahoney’s address, “Where do you fit in the global marketplace?” Mahoney discussed some of his experiences in the military and in the private sector that had an important and positive influence on his career.
Mahoney graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Villanova University and joined the Navy after participating in the NROTC program at Villanova. While serving three years of active duty, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from Roosevelt University.
Immediately following his active duty in the Navy, he joined NCR Corporation, where he spent 20 years working for the company and resigned as president. That’s when his life and career brought him to Canton, OH.
In July of 1982, he accepted a position at Diebold as a senior vice president in charge of their ATM and engineering division. In 1985, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer and a board member.
“When I came to Diebold, we were operating in only three countries – Canada, United States and Mexico,” he said. “When I retired in April of 2000, we were in 81 countries around the world.”
Mahoney became chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1988.
“Whether it’s product, service or a combination of both, successful sales and quality performance are the most important factors in economic growth,” he added. “Our world markets have seven important silos – financial, retail, industrial, commercial, medical, education and government. All are important to our future success.”
During Mahoney’s 18 years with Diebold, he had many interesting opportunities. He shared with the graduates and their families one of those experiences, his first visit to Shanghai, China.
“Not only did the men wear military clothes, but the women and children wore military clothes as well. There were only a few buses but there were a huge number of bicycles on the streets of Shanghai,” he said. “In our new manufacturing plant in Pou Dong, we were forced to hire a government official who did nothing but make sure we did not talk about our democratic society in the United States to our Chinese employees. What a change between then and now.”
Shanghai now has the fastest train in the world, estimated to go 338 miles per hour. In fact, it takes only seven minutes to get from the airport in Pou Dog to downtown Shanghai. “The streets today are packed with new cars and trucks. The men, women and children wear nice, modern clothes,” he added.
In conclusion, Mahoney said, “Remember, Mount Union will always be here for you. May God bless you and keep you safe and successful in these challenging times for the United States of America.”
Lee Ann Thorn, executive director of Atrium OBGYN, Inc. of Canton, OH and chair of the Mount Union Board of Trustees was then presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Dr. Patricia Matthews, dean of the division of professional studies, the Nolen A. and Thelma I Cunningham Chair of Business and professor of economics, accounting and business administration.
Logan Erwin, the senior class president, spoke on behalf of the class of 2010. The Heaton W. Harris and Corinne Harris Smith Prize was presented to senior Elizabeth Joyce Herman, a biochemistry major of Wapakoneta, OH. The Good Citizenship Award went to senior Jay Brian Carpenter, a biology major of Fairmont, WV.