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CBA Seniors Feted at Awards Night


The College of Business Administration (CBA) honored its most accomplished seniors on May 14 at the annual CBA Awards Night.

CBA Seniors Amy E. Cretella, the valedictorian, and Adrienne Rukavina, the salutatorian of the Class of 2009. Photos by Gina Vergel

Some 99 prizes were awarded at the ceremony, which took place at Keating Hall. Students received medals in the areas of accounting, finance, management, entrepreneurship and marketing. They were recognized for their excellence in academic, community and humanitarian endeavors, and for their leadership skills.

Also feted were class valedictorian Amy E. Cretella and salutatorian Adrienne Rukavina, both who looked back fondly on their four years at Fordham.

“From freshman to seniors, we have gone through our own transformation,” Cretella said. “We have gained academic excellence, strength of character, and spiritual enrichment from our education here at Fordham, whose Jesuit ideals have guided our intellectual, moral and religious growth.”

Rukavina reminded her fellow students that on Commencement day, Saturday, May 16, their lives will change.

“In two days, we have to get full-time jobs, pay our own bills and stop relying on our parents,” Rukavina said, as many in the packed auditorium broke out in laughter and applause.

“We have spent the last four years working extremely hard,” she continued. “So as we celebrate the culmination of all we have worked for, we know that nothing worth having ever comes easy. But I graduate knowing that the time we spent at Fordham has been nothing short of legendary.”

The CBA Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Robert P. Gach (CBA ’80), industry managing director of global capital markets for Accenture. The CBA Dean’s Awards for Teaching Excellence were given to Benjamin Cole, Ph.D., assistant professor of management systems; and Adjunct Professor Nancy McCarthy, who serves as assistant dean and adviser to seniors.

CBA Dean Donna Rapaccioli addressed the gathering of 300 students, faculty, friends and family, saying that the Class of 2009 will always be special to her because they were incoming freshmen the year she became dean.

“You truly are an extraordinary group,” she said to the students, who will graduate at a trying time in the business world. “I want to talk to you about two lessons you probably learned in kindergarten: challenges can create opportunities and opportunities can create success.”

Rapaccioli told the seniors that they will face challenges, but they will also get opportunities, which they must pursue.

Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of CBA, prepares to lead the seniors into the auditorium at Keating Hall at CBA Awards Night. The bagpiper set the stage for the event.

“Some of you may be wondering how you know which opportunities to seize. In fact, some of you may be sitting there—with the way the economy is—and wondering if you ever will have an opportunity to seize,” she said. “I assure you, you will. You will have many opportunities.

“So when it is before you, step back and use what you learned at Fordham about self awareness, about embracing change, and this will help you to discern which opportunities to pursue.”

Special recognition was given to the 166 students who completed CBA’s G.L.O.B.E. Program, designed to help students become ethical global business leaders. The program started in 1991 with one student.

Those who participated in the CBA Honors Thesis Program also were lauded. Thesis topics included subjects such as “Hedge Funds and Mortgage Crisis” and “Investment Sub-Styles Based on Individual Hedge Funds’ Investment Strategy.”

Patricia Ramsey, Ph.D., co-director of the CBA Honors Thesis Program, said she wished for the graduating seniors to live “useful and happy” lives.

“One of the essential parts of living a happy life is never ever taking yourself so seriously, or the world so seriously, that you forget whimsy,” Ramsey said. “Life is not all serious, and I wish each and every one of you a happy life.”


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