Academic Departments Celebrate Students and Alumni
April 11, 2019
At Isenberg, spring is the season for annual awards banquets. Hosted by academic departments, these vernal gatherings honor outstanding students and alumni. Evident in the descriptions below, the Departments of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sport Management, and Accounting know how to celebrate.
Hospitality & Tourism Management Annual Awards Dinner Honors Alumni and Industry Leaders
At its annual event at the Boston Park Plaza March 28, Isenberg’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) lived up to its name. With 350 alumni, faculty, and friends from industry in attendance (along with 30 HTM students who made the trip), the event attracted a dynamic cross section of Greater Boston’s hospitality community. The gathering honored two HTM alumni—Victoria Vega ’88 (left), who received the Stephen Elmont Award, and Matt Alemany ’10, who earned the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Vega, a veteran vice president with Unidine’s Culinary Group, endorsed Isenberg’s driven students and alumni, explaining that they bring competitive value to the business community because they live and work by Isenberg’s defining precept: We Drive the Driven. “In this ballroom,” she added, “we are all at different levels on the career continuum, but we are all connected. Get involved, stay engaged, share your expertise, give back, and champion others.” In less than a decade since leaving Isenberg, Matt Alemany has embraced his drive, rising rapidly to General Manager with Hyatt Centric Faneuil Hall.
The event also celebrated two non-alumni industry leaders. The Distinguished Industry Leader awardee was Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s president and CEO, who offered timely advice: Energize your teams with enthusiasm for change. Deliver memorable experiences to guests. Embrace rigor for constant improvement. Patrick Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, was also honored for the work he’s done over twenty years of helping bring the city to prominence as a national convention venue.
McCormack Awards Banquet Celebrates a Dynamic Community
“It takes a village to make a name in this industry,” observed former sport management department head and current Isenberg Senior Associate Dean Lisa Pike Masteralexis at the annual McCormack Awards Banquet on April 1. She underscored the department’s exceptional collaboration between its faculty, students, and alumni, four of whom were presented at the event with the department’s highest honor—the Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award.
“Harold VanderZwaag challenged our class, and Bernie Mullin introduced me to sports marketing,” recalled Declan Bolger ’89 MS, one of the recipients. The Isenberg alum is senior vice president and chief marketing officer with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. His advice to students: Get used to “being comfortable with being uncomfortable. And always keep learning—from staff and fans.” Commissioner of the Northeast Conference Noreen Morris ’91 offered additional advice. “Not having a career plan is not a negative,” she insisted. “Use your first job to figure out what you like to do.” Cindy Stutman ’98, senior vice president of business operations with the Philadelphia Flyers, agreed that early-career employees should be flexible: “Understand that your learning [at Isenberg] isn’t ending; it’s only beginning,” she emphasized. “Stay connected with your UMass roots and once successful, send the elevator back down.” Scott Zuffelato ’87 MS, VP of Philanthropy with the Basketball Hall of Fame, said, “I’ve never stopped learning.” He added, “You’re all rising stars.”
Scott Crowder ’09, commissioner and founder of Pond Hockey Classic, North America’s largest pond hockey tournament
Brenna Dykta ’10 MS MBA, an account manager with Endeavor Global Marketing
Danielle Lopez ’12, a senior consultant with the US Olympic Committee
Adam Nurik ’10, senior director of corporate consulting with the consultancy GSE
Nineteen scholarship recipients and ten top seniors (pictured at right) were also recognized.
Accounting Department Honors Alumni of the Year Richard ’79 and Susan Gulman '81
On April 4, Isenberg’s Department of Accounting honored students and alumni at its annual banquet at the Log Cabin on the summit of Mount Tom in Holyoke. At the event, 60 students received awards for academic excellence and community service. The principal alumni honorees were Rick ’79 and Susan '81 Gulman.
Rick, the founder and partner of the Boston-based accounting firm DiCicco, Gulman & Company (DGC), knows a great deal about determination and grit: “I was the first in my family to go to college. We struggled financially,” he recalled in an interview.
In 2007, Rick and his wife, Sue, who graduated with a psychology degree from UMass and is sharing alumni of the year honors with him, began offering substantial financial support for Isenberg’s Careers in Accounting and Management Professions program. Better known as C.A.M.P., the annual week-long summer residential program at UMass introduces more than two dozen high school juniors and seniors to career possibilities in accounting and other business disciplines.
“Sue and I wanted to step up our support for UMass through C.A.M.P.,” Rick continued. “We were looking for something meaningful that aligned with our values and backgrounds. The ‘campers’—many of whom we’ve had the pleasure of meeting—are very different from students from more privileged backgrounds,” he remarked. “They are hungrier. They bring tremendous passion and excitement to the program.”
Rick knows first-hand the value of seizing opportunities. He and his partner, Lenny DiCicco, founded DGC in 1995 after their employer, Laventhol & Horwath, bottomed out in 1990. “When a situation appears dismal, it can ultimately turn out to be fortuitous,” he observed. “You find out what you’re made of.” Following a few ambivalent years with regional accounting firms, Rick decided, “I wanted to build a firm with people I was able to choose.” Ultimately, “success is all about relationships,” he emphasized. Today, DGC—an independent CPA and business advisory firm serving high-net-worth individuals and privately held businesses—boasts 175 employees, including 22 partners. It is the fourth largest non-national CPA firm in Massachusetts and the 140th largest accounting firm in the country.