More than 300 alumni, faculty, and friends of the School of Business celebrated the 30th anniversary Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Hartford Marriott Downtown on Friday evening.
The celebration welcomed five outstanding and accomplished alumni to the Hall of Fame, while simultaneously honoring business, ingenuity, friendships, family, education, and even the men’s basketball team. Inductees also shared their advice to the many undergraduate and graduate students in the audience.
UConn President Radenka Maric said it was a joy to participate in the event, and praised the generosity, creativity, innovation, financial aptitude and intelligence of the guests, as well as their willingness to mentor UConn students.
“Education is a power to make you successful in life. You may have come from Main Street, but now you’re on Wall Street,” she said. “Love UConn, and it will love you back!”
School of Business Dean John A. Elliott said the School of Business has made great strides as a premier business school, benefitting from feedback from alumni and corporate partners and fueled by students who are remarkably capable and accomplished.
The School of Business has inducted some 150 alumni since it was created in 1993. In recognition of the 30th anniversary, many prominent inductees returned to honor those who followed in their footsteps.
“Hall of Fame ceremony is always one of the highlights of the year, but this year’s celebration was particularly festive with people re-connecting after a significant absence,” said Michael Deotte, Executive Director of Alumni Relations.
“It is always moving to see alumni embrace faculty members who have changed the course of their lives,” said Jillian Comolli, Associate Director. “So often they will tell their former professors that they provided their students with the foundation for success.”
The newest Hall of Fame inductees are:
– Maria Fahy-Barry ’84, Senior Vice President and Community Development Banking National Executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In her work, Fahy-Barry financed billions of dollars for the creation of more than 65,000 affordable housing units, serving families, veterans and the formerly homeless. The reward is indescribable, she said.
“At UConn, I learned the value of hard work, of team work and of dreaming big,” said Fahy-Barry, an accounting major and captain of the cross country and track teams. Her advice to others is find your power posse and “lift as you climb, and bring people with you.”
– Debra Hess ’86, who was CFO of NorthStar Asset Management until her retirement six years ago, said she would not have achieved what she did without UConn. A first-generation college student, Hess majored in accounting and said she learned to work hard, to be humble and to be true to herself. She describes herself as ‘hardcore’ when it comes to work but always made sure to have moments of fun and silliness. She encouraged the students in the audience to do the same.
– Tom Marshella ’79, who served as Managing Director and Head of Corporate Finance, Americas, for Moody’s Investors Service before his retirement, said despite graduating in a recession, he still had multiple accounting job offers. A risk-taker, Marshella and his wife Linda moved to Australia with a 2-year-old and a baby on the way. He credits his parents for imparting a strong work ethic and his family and friends for supporting him along the way.
Marshella, who hired and advised many UConn students, urged those in attendance to do the same. “Don’t think for a moment you can’t impact a young person trying to make sense of a chaotic world,” he said.
– Anthony “Tony” Rizza ’87, former CEO of Columbus Circle Investors, told students to “study hard, have a good time and read the Wall Street Journal every day!” Rizza, who now serves on the UConn Foundation Board and its Investment Committee, also helped fund and develop the Husky Athletic Village and the Rizza Performance Center. A finance major, he was also captain of the men’s soccer team. He shared his exhilaration over the over the men’s basketball team championship and concluded his remarks by saying: “I’m a Husky forever!”
– Richard Vogel ’87, ’22 HON, CFO and COO of Loeb.nyc, graduated Magna Cum Laude as an Honors Scholar, majoring in finance. He said his UConn education served him well. Vogel was the 2022 School of Business commencement speaker. In that speech he told students: “There are no dreams too big, there are no walls too high, there are no problems to complicated. Attack it all with the grit and ambition that it took you to successfully navigate the roller coaster ride of the last four years.”
Vogel, who helped create the highly successful entrepreneurship pipeline for UConn students, gave numerous examples of business startups and partnerships that have become phenomenally successful—with many more in the offing. His remarks were met with rousing applause.
In addition, the ceremony included the induction of new members of student fellows. They include: Sam Geiger’22 EMBA; Jing Liu ’22 MBA; Monique Domingo ’22 Ph.D.; Nicholas Willett ’22; Melvin Andre ’22; Jennifer Fass ’23 MSHRM; Michael Morris ’23 MBA; Ilona Bastiaansen ’23 Ph.D.; Kristen Ferguson ’23 Ph.D.; Rashana Weerasinghe ’22 and Thomas Waurishuk ’23.