A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard -- who recently traded in a career in high finance for the mystique of the Central Intelligence Agency -- urged Towson University graduates yesterday to strive for integrity and commitment in their lives.
"I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have had two careers which are so incredibly fascinating and satisfying, and have selected from each a cardinal component," said Krongard, who received an honorary degree during the university's 133rd commencement.
Referring to his longtime involvement in the securities field, Krongard -- a former chairman and chief executive of Alex. Brown and former vice chairman of the board of directors of Bankers Trust New York Corp. -- told the graduates to strive for honesty in a business climate often marred by white-collar crime.
"You are about to enter the world in an unblemished condition. Stay that way," he said. "Strive to do what is clearly right and proper. There are no nuances of honor." When in doubt, he said, try the "old-fashioned smell test.
"Does the conduct in question smell right? Look through the legalisms, rationalizations and minutia to determine the essence the behavior," he said. "The appropriate question to ask is, 'Can I be proud of this?' Not, 'Can I beat this in court?' "
Krongard, 61, who left the banking business in February to become a counselor to the director of the CIA, praised the commitment of men and women working for the intelligence agency.
He encouraged the 479 graduates who received bachelor's degrees and the 91 who received master's degrees from the university's College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Mathematics to commit to a cause. "I urge you to find something out there to which you can give your all, if not in your business life, then in your personal life," Krongard said. "I am imploring you to find something in your life that matters to you, and do it, commit yourself."
During the ceremony at the Towson Center, Loren Spice, 16, the school's youngest graduate and the student speaker, thanked his professors and family for their help and reminded fellow graduates that Towson University has given them the "spirit of intellectual curiosity."
Pub Date: 5/28/98