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Business leaders to address Kelley Indianapolis graduates

Joe K. Slaughter
Joe K. Slaughter James M. McClelland
James M. McClelland

Published:

May 7, 2012

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Two esteemed business leaders with extraordinary commitment to volunteerism and giving back will address graduates of the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis at its May 13 commencement recognition ceremonies.

Joe K. Slaughter, president, CEO and chairman of Herff Jones Inc., will deliver the keynote address to graduate students at a ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. in the Indiana Convention Center. In a separate ceremony scheduled to begin around 5:30 p.m., Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana President and CEO James M. McClelland will address students receiving baccalaureate degrees.

“Our graduating students are fortunate to hear from these business veterans,” said Philip L. Cochran, associate dean of Indianapolis operations for the Kelley School. “Each has successfully lead his organization to the top of their respective industries, while devoting specific energy to the impact of community involvement.”

“A Kelley degree says a lot about an individual’s business training, but it also reflects our graduates’ conviction for creativity, self-expression and engagement to make a difference in the world. I anticipate Joe and Jim to emphasize the virtues of these characteristics,” continued Cochran, whose scholarly activity includes leadership and corporate social responsibility.

Slaughter believes there is real value in helping people, and he has cast a vision that people have the heart to follow. The employee owners at Herff Jones embrace Slaughter’s leadership and have created a corporate culture of volunteerism that earned the educational recognition and achievement company a five-time “Company that Cares” distinction from the United Way of Central Indiana.

For nearly 40 years, Slaughter has been part of the Herff Jones family, starting as a sales representative in south-central Michigan and culminating in his election as chairman in 2007. Today, Herff Jones, which “helps people celebrate important events in their lives,” is one of the country’s largest 100 percent employee-owned companies and projects about $675 million in sales for 2012. Slaughter holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, Mich.), which named the philosophy graduate its 2004 Alumnus of the Year, and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

Goodwill’s McClelland says he never aspired to be a leader, but he did aspire to serve. It is his passion “to accomplish something worthwhile and to create something that would outlast" him that has escalated his career and the organization he leads.

Today, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana is one of the largest of 160 Goodwill corporations in North America. Under McClelland’s leadership, it has evolved into a community resource that employs more than 1,300 people with limited vocational options. The Kelley School honored McClelland with the 2011 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award for his contributions to management philosophies and practices. He holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, an MBA from the IU Kelley School of Business and an honorary doctorate in public service from the Christian Theological Seminary.