Accountancy Awards Banquet 2015 recognizes outstanding students, faculty and alumnus

Author: Brian Cook

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More than 130 guests attended the Department of Accountancy’s Spring Awards Banquet on April 30 at the University of Notre Dame South Dining Hall.  The annual event recognizes students for their outstanding academic performance and superior service to the College, University and/or community.  The banquet also recognizes the “Alumnus of the Year” and the James Dincolo Outstanding Undergraduate Professor of the Year. 

The banquet provides an opportunity to recognize and provide monetary awards to outstanding students.  The financial awards are supported by several department endowments.

The event began with a welcome by Janet O’Tousa, Beta Alpha Psi Faculty adviser.  Ashley Veselik, Beta Alpha Psi networking and banquet coordinator, then gave the invocation.

Fred Mittelstaedt, department chair, gave the first award of the banquet to Assistant Professor Jennifer Susteric Stevens, who received the James Dincolo Outstanding Undergraduate Professor of the Year Award. The award is determined by a vote of graduating accountancy seniors using criteria including the professor’s knowledge of the subject area, ability to engage students, and the increase in knowledge and skills gained from the professor’s course. 

Assistant chair Jamie O’Brien then described the awards and announced the following winners:

  • Sara Cuba (MSA ’15) was honored with the FSA Student Award, which is given annually to an outstanding Master of Science in Accountancy student at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Hannah Lin (BBA ’14, MSA ’15) received the Accountancy Chairman’s Award, a recognition of outstanding service to the Department of Accountancy based on recommendation of the faculty.  
  • Kevin Schneider (BBA ’15) was awarded Hamilton Award for Accountancy for earning the highest GPA among graduating seniors in the accountancy major. 
  • Marie Davidson (BBA ’15) received the Accountancy Faculty Award as an outstanding senior in the Department of Accountancy.
  • Bethany Reimbold (BBA ’15) was honored with the Peter Brady Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding academic performance.
  • Elizabeth Quinn, James McEntee, Audrey Eaton and Lauren Pierce (All BBA ’15) all received the Brother Cyprian, CSC, Award in recognition of outstanding academic achievement. 
  • Michael Schneider, Ellen Stucky, Evan Brizius and Casey Horan (All BBA ’15) all received the James Dincolo Award, an award honoring former accountancy professor James Dincolo in recognition of academic achievement.
  • Nini Wu, Andrew Borchert, Kevin Huang and Jameson Ondrof (All BBA ’15) all received the Elmer Layden Award in recognition of academic achievement

Each year, the department presents two service related awards, the Tara K. Deutsch Award and the William G. Barth Award.  Michael Schneider (BBA ’15) received the Tara K. Deutsch Award for exemplary social consciousness and devotion to efforts to give hope to the less fortunate. Ryan Majsak (BBA ’15) was given the William G. Barth Award for superior service to the College, University and/or community.

The last award of the evening was the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, which went to Bob Burke (BBA ’94) for his work with Chicago-based nonprofit Ladder Up and other professional accomplishments.  Ladder Up offers free tax preparation services, college financial aid application assistance and practical money management workshops to low-income families and individuals in an effort to help them to move up the economic ladder. The organization has served more than 250,000 client families, recruited 24,000-plus volunteers and returned in excess of $470 million to lower income families since 1994.

Burke continues to lead Ladder Up as its chairman and CEO.  In 2007, he also started his own private holding company, Burke America, to acquire, grow and operate distribution businesses.  In 2012, Chicago Magazine recognized Burke as one of six “Chicagoans of the Year,” describing the honorees as “remarkable individuals, the intrepid heroes who make our city – and our world – a better place.”

During the awards banquet, Burke spoke eloquently about 10 life lessons learned over the past 21 years since graduating at Notre Dame: 

  1. The power of knocking on doors – one by one.
  2. The power of investing in yourself and others.
  3. Getting up when life kicks you.
  4. As an entrepreneur, you will be lonely and scared at times. That's OK.
  5. Dream. Dream and dream the impossible.  
  6. Don't move too fast.  Slow down and reflect.  Pause before moving and speaking. 
  7. Attitude is 51 percent and aptitude is 49 percent of life.  
  8. Be hungry.
  9. Family and faith matter most.
  10. Give back your time, your talents and treasure. 

The event concluded with Burke asking attendees to stand and repeat an old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.