Mendoza Honors Exemplary Alumni for 2015

Author: Angela Sienko

Each year, the Office of Graduate Alumni Relations recognizes two individuals for their dedication to the Mendoza College of Business through direct service to the college or through living the mission of the College in their daily lives. 

  • The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a graduate business alumnus/alumna who has demonstrated achievement in business and a commitment to the Mendoza College of Business through leadership and service to the graduate business community. The 2015 winner is Perry Dellelce (MBA ’87). 
     
  • The Recent Alumni Service Award recognizes a graduate business alumnus/alumna who graduated within the past seven years and has demonstrated commitment to the Mendoza College of Business or to the Mendoza mission of “Ask More of Business” through service to the community. This year’s winner is Andria Seneviratne (ACCT ’10, MSA ’11). 

Examples of service to the graduate business community include, but are not limited to, recruitment of prospective students, speaking on campus, financial support of the graduate business programs, participation in alumni activities and career recruitment.  Examples of commitment to the mission of the College of Business include, but are not limited to, excelling in a career in the nonprofit sector, leading a local community service effort, promoting corporate social responsibility or serving on a nonprofit board.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD WINNER, PERRY DELLELCE: A CANADIAN AMBASSADOR FOR NOTRE DAME

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Perry Dellelce always knew his university days would be the best of his life. “Honestly, I didn’t want to leave,” he says. “And the way to not leave is to stay connected. I have always wanted my universities to be part of my life, so I made a point to stay involved with all of them.”

In addition to his Notre Dame MBA, Dellelce received a bachelor of arts from the University of Western Ontario and a law degree from the University of Ottawa.

Even though Notre Dame is in a different country, Dellelce is a faithful alum. In mid-July, for example, he joined University representatives to meet with five Canadian employers and donor prospects. “We work very hard to expand the Notre Dame reputation in Canada,” he says. “The brand is quite well-known, but it still isn’t everything you would want it to be in Canada. We are working very hard to develop it and spread the word.”

This dedication means a lot from someone like Dellelce. He is a founding partner of the law firm Wildeboer Dellelce in Toronto, one of Canada’s leading corporate finance transactional firms. He is active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, community groups and governmental boards, most notably serving as board chairman for the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation (Canada’s largest hospital) and as a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

At Notre Dame, he sits on the Mendoza College of Business Advisory Council. He and his wife, Sue, established the Dellelce Irish Hockey Shop in the Compton Family Ice Arena. The Dellelces have endowed two MBA scholarships — one in the name of Dellelce’s mother, Diane Dellelce, and one in the names of former business dean Frank Reilly and his wife, Therese.

Reilly and Dellelce have been friends since Dellelce’s MBA days. “He was an outstanding MBA president,” Reilly recalls. “Now, Perry’s career and personal life are consistent with the highest goals of the Notre Dame MBA program.”

Jake Frego (MBA ’87), the class vice president, nominated Dellelce for the Distinguished Alumni Award and echoes Reilly’s sentiments: “From the moment he arrived on campus, Perry has been an exemplary leader, confidant and classmate. As our MBA class president, he inspired commitment and fellowship. He painted a compelling picture of the future and created a cohesion among classmates that exists to this day.”

For Dellelce, who chose to attend Notre Dame because he wanted a very distinctive MBA education outside Canada, these connections with classmates and the university have benefitted his career and enriched his life. “The best part of my Notre Dame experience is the friends that I have, the lifelong bonds that will never go away,” he says. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with all of the contacts, friendships and memories I have from my time at Mendoza.”

 

RECENT ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD WINNER, ANDRIA SENEVIRATNE: A LEAP OF FAITH

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Andria Seneviratne had always heard that true happiness comes from finding the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at and what the world needs. A leap of faith has landed her in that intersection.

Two years ago, she left a job with Deloitte to work with City First Enterprises, a Washington D.C. nonprofit bank holding company that seeks to increase economic access for low-wealth communities.

Seneviratne’s role is senior vice president of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, which focuses on creating jobs, increasing individual financial assets and promoting a healthier environment. Specifically, she leads efforts to incubate and support green wealth-building businesses that create local jobs. A complementary effort increases local procurement spending of place-based institutions such as universities, hospitals and local governments to support local businesses.

“This initiative allows me to think about and respond to social, economic, and environmental issues in the Washington region,” she says. “I have been able to think outside the box and implement strategies to respond to the root of the problem.

“At the same time, I have also met passionate, inspiring individuals that push me every day to break through seemingly unsurmountable challenges. It has not been easy but it has definitely been worth it!”

Seneviratne connects her current position to Mendoza’s overall mission as well as a very singular experience at the college. “The Mendoza graduate school commencement speaker, [entrepreneur and philanthropist] Jaqueline Novogratz, urged us to use our business skills to solve social problems,” she says. “Her message reinforced the purpose and the beauty of capital and markets — everything I learned at Mendoza! This eventually helped me take a leap of faith into the social sector.”

And Seneviratne credits Mendoza for guiding her to her current path. “Mendoza taught me to look at business as a calling and a tool to make a difference in the world. And this was at a time when people were losing faith in business and business leaders.

“Even today, I interact with communities that see corporations as the problem but, in true Mendoza fashion, I refuse to give up on business. I believe our new reality presents a new opportunity for business to increase market share and profitability. This requires businesses to go beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility to optimize long-term rather than short term profitability by addressing societal needs and challenges. Again, it’s not easy but there are already corporations pushing this strategy forward.” 

Stephen Walter, Seneviratne’s former classmate in both her undergraduate and graduate years, nominated her for the Alumni Service Award. “She passionately lives out Mendoza’s mission of Asking More of Business,” he wrote. “She serves as a great inspiration to anyone searching for a greater purpose in the companies they work for or the lives they lead.”

The 2015 Graduate Business Alumni Awards Luncheon to honor Perry and Andria will take place October 16, 2015 at the Smith Family Ballroom in the Morris Inn. If you wish to attend the luncheon, tickets cost $20 per person and you may register here