Published 02/28/14

Alumni Achievement Award recipients for 2014 announced

Bryant University’s Office of Alumni Engagement announces seven recipients of Alumni Achievement Awards for 2014. Although more than last year’s number of recipients, Director of Alumni Engagement Robin Torbron Warde says, “Really, there is no ‘right’ number of awards – especially with the strong pool of outstanding Bryant alumni. With so many highly qualified nominees, it seemed fitting to honor them all this year.”

What’s the secret to a successful nomination?  “Being engaged with Bryant in some capacity,” says Warde. “While distinguished careers are an important consideration, alumni who have stayed involved with Bryant today or are very willing to reengage with students, faculty, and other alumni in some capacity are usually pulled to the top of the list.” 

This year’s awards recipients are:

David N. Ricchiute ’70, DBA (Granger, IN), Deloitte Professor of Accountancy, University of Notre Dame, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Three time recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year and two time recipient of the Master of Science in Accountancy Outstanding Teacher of the Year awards at Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, Ricchiute says, “Bryant awakened me to a professional career that became my life’s work, and exposed me to teachers who were as good as any I’ve witnessed since.”

The Distinguished Alumna Award will be given to Diane A. Kazarian ’83, CPA, CA (Toronto, Canada), senior partner and the National Financial Services Leader for PwC Canada, a job that includes banking and capital markets, insurance, asset management, private equity, and real estate businesses of the firm. She was recently named to the Women's Executive Network's 2013 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards. Kazarian says, “The relationship-building skills I learned early in my childhood and further developed at Bryant are the key to my success.”

Receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Graduate School of Business will be Joseph R. Beretta ’78 MBA (Lincoln, RI), president and Chief Financial Officer of Robinson Green Beretta (RGB), one of Rhode Island’s most prestigious architectural, engineering, and interior design firms. He credits his success to the credo he lives by, “Always be honest with everyone in your business and professional life, and stay close to your family.”

John F. Del Vecchio ’98 (Dallas, TX), co-founder and co-manager of Active Bear ATF and author of “What’s Behind the Numbers? A Guide to Financial Chicanery and Avoiding Huge Losses in Your Portfolio,” will accept the Young Alumnus Leader Award. “At Bryant, I received a well-rounded education in business, science, and the humanities,” he says. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but knowledge of history is very helpful to business as it provides you with a sense of human nature.”

Honored for her active alumni volunteer participation with a Nelson J. Gulski Service Award will be Carol (Carlson) Shibley ’73 (Coventry, RI), senior sales manager, The Providence Biltmore. She has worked on National Alumni Council committees, hosted job shadowing students, served as a mentor in the IDEA program, and organized and hosted Regional Alumni Network gatherings at her places of employment. “I’m very proud of what I learned at Bryant, and I enjoy helping students see that their Bryant education can take them where they want to go,” she says.  

Julio Vasquez-Pretto ’88 also will receive a Nelson J. Gulski Service Award. A lifetime resident of Panama, Vasquez-Pretto has recruited more than two dozen Panamanians on Bryant’s behalf, including the son of Panama’s first female president. In addition to his recruitment efforts, he has shared his connections and expertise with students in the Sophomore International Experience since its inception. He happily makes the real-life connection between international business theory and practice for Bryant students in Panama. “Anything I have here [in Panama], I owe to Bryant,” Vasquez-Pretto says.

Professor of Management Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., will be awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award. Annavarjula, an eight-year member of Bryant’s faculty, was the driving force behind the successful performance of the International Business program. The program was ranked 16th in the nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2013, a jump from 27 in 2012, and 41 in 2011. Now associate dean of the College of Business, Annavarjula says of teaching, “This is a profession where you can see the fruits of your labor double in front of your eyes.”

Those wishing to attend the Alumni Achievement Awards on Friday, March 28, may register online through the Alumni Engagement Day registration link. Alumni Achievement Awards dinner information is on page two of the registration. Alumni Engagement Day is a chance for alumni to attend free panels and seminars on campus featuring experts in finance, marketing, and general business. Morning sessions address finance issues such as the impact of changing interest rates and the latest market trends. Afternoon sessions tackle the roles social media and big data play in the changing way we do business. Expert alumni and faculty serve as moderators and panelists.