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Business Seniors Celebrate the Future at GSB Awards Ceremony


The McGinley Center Lounge was transformed into an awards venue on May 19 as the Gabelli School of Business (GSB) honored its most distinguished seniors.

Nearly 100 business undergraduates received medals for their accomplishments in accounting, finance, management, entrepreneurship and marketing. Students also were recognized for excellence in academic, community and humanitarian endeavors, and for their leadership skills.

Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of GSB and the Fordham business faculty, said everyone assembled—students, parents, friends and faculty members—should feel pride for what the students had accomplished.

She noted that several seniors were destined for prestigious corporate and academic locations such as Google, Tiffany’s, JPMorgan Chase, the Sloan School of Management and Jagiellonian University in Poland.

Rapaccioli reminded students that they possess three qualities that are important to leading a meaningful life and taking advantage of opportunities: a good education, faith in God, government, or themselves, and friends and family.

“I encourage you to think about the link between trust and opportunity,” she said. “People have to trust you, believe in you, for them to offer you opportunities. You have to inspire that trust.”

Rapaccioli touched on that theme again while thanking David Stuhr, Ph.D., who is retiring after 35 years of as a finance professor, dean of the school and, most recently, associate vice president for academic affairs at Fordham.

“Dave was the dean when I was a student, and over the years, I’m honored that he has become a confidant and friend. I came to trust him early on as someone who could give me great advice about my education, and later, about my career. He was instrumental in my decision to accept the position of dean,” she said.

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Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of GSB and the Fordham business faculty, and David Stuhr, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Stephanie Miller, this year’s salutatorian for GSB, reflected on how much had changed since she arrived at Fordham.

“This place feels tiny now, and even though I don’t want to admit it, that feeling is how I know it’s time to go,” Miller said. “This has become my comfort zone, and that’s why it’s time to move on to the next big thing.

“I look back to four years ago, and I think how young I was, how much has changed and how much I’ve changed. I look back to a month ago, and I think the same thing,” she said. “The real difference between then and now is a keen awareness of how much I have to learn.”

John McCombe, GSB ’82, co-president and director of sales and marketing for Richard Bernstein Advisors, also was honored during the ceremony. In accepting the 2011 Gabelli School of Business Alumnus of the Year Award, McCombe told attendees that he tried to abide by the maxim, “You learn, you earn, you return.”

“If somebody had told me that I would be ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and raising asset money on Wall Street and having a very successful career, I would have said, ‘I don’t think so,’” McCombe said. “But if you’re driven and you find something that you really love, which for me was sales and marketing, magical things can happen.

“Fordham gives you a tremendous foundation in this area,” he said. “I don’t think you understand quite how powerful the New York City brand really is. You’re going to see that as you enter the marketplace and are talking to people. The Jesuit thing is going to give you a lot of that, too. It has helped me quite a bit in my career.”

Undergraduate research was also a major theme of the evening. Thesis projects by members of the Global Business Honors Program were highlighted, and Kevin McAleer received the Patricia Ramsey Outstanding Thesis Award for his work “Online Social Lending: U.S. vs. U.K.”


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