On May 15, the Gabelli School of Business honored its exceptional students and faculty members at an awards ceremony that highlighted the qualities that set the school apart.
The dean of the school, Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., lauded the students’ achievements in academic competitions and at professional conferences, along with their many other endeavors such as helping businesses in developing countries through the school’s fair trade program.
“The Class of 2014 understands that business is about more than simply earning a profit. It’s about empowering people. It’s about having a broader impact,” she said at the outset of the ceremony, held at the McGinley Center on the Rose Hill campus.
The ceremony included recognition of students in honor societies, awards for student achievers in various academic fields and concentrations, and awards for exceptional honors theses. Other awards were given to administrators, alumni, and to members of the business faculty. The Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Paul Lynch, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of accounting and tax, and to Mario DiFiori, assistant dean and advisor to seniors. It is given to one full-time and one adjunct faculty member.
Rapaccioli said the students would each receive a soapstone ram, carved by a fair trade artisan collective in Kenya, as a symbol of their connection to Fordham and as a reminder that they can choose to “do business with purpose.”
“It’s not always easy to ask questions about the impact of actions on society, but if you do, you will reshape the world. It sounds challenging, but I know that the Class of 2014 is up to the task,” she said.
The Alumnus of the Year Award went to Donald Almeida, GSB ’73. In his remarks, he pointed to the importance of global experience, saying that “if you haven’t been overseas and you haven’t worked overseas … you’re not really a player” in business. He urged the students to form the kind of long-term global relationships that just can’t be forged over the Internet.
“You can’t have a trusted relationship with somebody you haven’t met,” he said. “If you’ve e-mailed them or ‘Facebooked’ them or ‘Twittered’ them . . ., it can’t be trusted unless they know you, unless you’ve actually met them. And I would suggest, in business, that’s really, really important.”
Valedictorian Lena Puschra said Fordham “has taught us the ability to embrace any challenge.”
“We have learned to treat challenges, people, and most importantly, ourselves, with an open mind, kindness, respect, and appreciation,” she said. “It is important that we make the best of every situation using the values that Fordham has taught us.
“I am graduating with a class of students who are smart enough to succeed in any job but who are also brave enough to choose the job that they love,” she said. “Our college years are over, but it’s up to us to make sure that the past four years were not the greatest years of our lives but just the beginning. So tonight I won’t say that we made it, but I will proudly say that we’re just getting started.”