The Southwestern Graduate School of Banking/Southern Methodist University held its 2000 commencement on June 9 for the 52 members of Class XLI, the 41st class to fulfill the requirements of this graduate program renowned for its dynamic faculty, challenging curricula, and exceptional student body from throughout the world. Albert W. Niemi, Jr., Dean of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, gave the commencement address. Among the graduates to earn the highly coveted diploma were Clay Jones, vice president of Commercial National Bank of Brady, and Sue Owens, senior vice president of Brady National Bank of Brady. In making this announcement, the president and CEO of the SWGSB Foundation, Dr. S. Scott MacDonald, expressed his hopes for Mr. Jones and Mrs. Owens and the other graduates: “I like to think that during their three years at the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking, we have instilled in our graduates not only a love of learning, but also an appreciation for imagination. As Albert Einstein once said, ‘I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important that knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’ It is through imagination that we surmount obstacles, create new opportunities, and service out customers better. The members of Class XLI have each met the challenge of SWGSB/SMU’s rigorous curriculum and can return now to their respective institutions, confident that they possess both the knowledge and imagination to achieve their personal dreams and professional goals.” Clay began his career at Commercial National Bank in September 1996 after working in Fort Worth for Overton Bank and Trust. He is married to Wendy and together they have two children, Zachary, 8, and Martha, 5. They are members of the First United Methodist Church of Brady. Clay is an active community member having served on the board of directors for the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce and the McCulloch Industrial Foundation Board. “We are pleased that Clay has completed this distinctive school,” said CNB President and CEO Robert Barnhill. “This school is a very positive step that serves as a building block for a career in the banking business.” Sue began her career at Brady National Bank in 1977. In 1985 she was named assistant cashier and was promoted to vice president and cashier in 1994. She and husband, Monte, have two children, Kevin, who is attending Angelo State University, and Taylor, 14. Members of the First United Methodist Church, they are active in the HOT Emmaus Community. Sue works with the Chrysalis program in San Angelo and enjoys reading and exercising. “At Brady National Bank, our emphasis on continued education is an example of the bank’s commitment to enhancing our customer service quality and employee training,” said BNB President and CEO Kim King. “We are very proud of Sue’s accomplishment and appreciated her commitment and sacrifice necessary to obtain this banking degree.” While attending SWGSB, Sue served for three years as a class officer and graduated with recognition for leadership. “As first vice president of the class, Sue assumed a tremendous obligation,” stated MacDonald. “A class officer serves an important administrative and leadership role with SWGSB. Her excellent performance and leadership speaks highly of her. This is indeed a rare honor.” In his commencement address to the graduates, Dean Albert W. Niemi, Jr. encouraged the graduates to recognize the significance of the word “commencement” and to understand that they were, indeed, beginning on a new course. They should never stop learning, he advised, and in all their dealings, be fair and ethical to all. The 2000 graduates represent more than 40 financial institutions in 15 states, the British West Indies, and the Czech Republic. They each have at least five years of banking experience, either in a financial institution or a federal or state agency. Most hold a senior level post in their organization, or are on a fast track within their management ranks. They have a fundamental knowledge’through education or experience’of bank operations, credit administration, accounting, financial statement analysis, and economics. These banking professionals also come to SWGSB with many past accomplishments and enthusiastic recommendations from their institutions’ leadership. The graduate school’s sponsoring partners include the Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas bankers associations, and Southern Methodist University. Established in 1957, the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking has become one of the top banking educational institutions today. It is a professional school for bank officers, regulators, and others holding management positions in the financial services industry. SWGSB/SMU meets two weeks annually over three years, bringing into focus and augmenting these managers’ on-the-job experience. Emphasis is placed on financial management, leadership development, and strategic planning. At the forefront of disseminating information about the latest bank technology, the SWGSB educational experience also includes a Virtual Learning System via e-mail and the World Wide Web. SWGSB Foundation also conducts the prestigious Assemblies for Bank Directors, a series of annual seminars held throughout the United States and Canada for bank board members and senior officers. SWGSB/SMU and SWGSB Foundation are headquartered at Southern Methodist University’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country. Those interested in attending the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking or in learning more about the school and other SWGSB Foundation programs may write, call or e-mail: SWGSB, SMU Box 214, Dallas, Texas, 75275; (214) 768-2991; firstname.lastname@example.org. The SWGSB/SMU web site is www.swgsb.org.