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Penn State Smeal summer 2019 student marshal says challenge of earning three degrees was opportunity to grow

August 8, 2019

Many people would consider it impossible to earn two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree over a 10-semester academic career.

Patrick Begg said he viewed the delicate balance of pursuing multiple degrees from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business with the demands of myriad extracurricular activities as more of an opportunity. 

Begg, who will graduate summa cum laude Saturday with a 3.97 GPA, has been selected as Smeal’s summer 2019 student marshal. 

The State College native maximized his 10 semesters at Smeal through the Integrated MAcc Program, earning a master’s in accounting, as well as bachelor’s degrees in finance and accounting. 

“I knew that having a strong foundation in accounting and finance would enable me to understand business more holistically. I believe that having a working knowledge of accounting and finance is critical to understanding how intelligent decisions are made by entrepreneurs and business managers and assessing the value of a company,” Begg said. 

“When I learned that I could major in both finance and accounting through the Integrated MAcc Program, I thought it would be an excellent way to get the most of of my Smeal education.” 

Begg served as president of EARTH House, a special on-campus residence hall for students interested in food, agriculture, and the natural resource sciences, a volunteer coordinator for the Penn State Red Cross Club, and a teaching assistant for Accounting 803: Forensic Accounting and Litigation Support. He was also an active member of the Penn State Investment Association and Beta Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chapter.

“Balancing a heavy academic course load, extracurriculars, and personal life was certainly a challenge at times. At Smeal, you are surrounded by so many who have committed to taking full advantage of all of the opportunities that the college affords them, whether they are academic, extracurricular or otherwise,” he said. 

“In this sense, there is a healthy competition between students at Smeal and the challenge of balancing your time feels more like an opportunity to grow than a burden.” 

After graduation, Begg will work for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLC in its Private Company Services and Private Wealth Management Tax Group. 

Begg said he was “honored and grateful” to be chosen to lead the Smeal procession in the Bryce Jordan Center. It’s sure to be another cherished memory of his time at Penn State. 

“I have many great memories from my tenure at Smeal but a few of them that stand out are the times that I attended keynote speaker events. The keynote speakers were truly impressive people,” he said. 

“I was always inspired to hear their stories and was appreciative that they thought it worthwhile to share their stories with Smeal students.” 

The Penn State summer 2019 commencement ceremony for undergraduates is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The graduate ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. All summer commencement ceremonies will be held in the Bryce Jordan Center.

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