Impact of Giving

Published 03/01/18

Bryant finance professor endows Commencement Award for Excellence in International Business

Elizabeth Yobaccio, Ph.D., began her teaching career at Bryant College with "the ink barely dry on my doctoral degree." Twenty-seven years later, as she prepares to retire, Yobaccio has found a unique way to express her thanks for the unparalleled opportunities she has been given to teach, lead, and travel – becoming a distinguished faculty member highly regarded for her commitment to interdisciplinary teaching, innovation, and creativity.

Finance Prof. Elizabeth Yobaccio, Ph.D.The finance professor played a founding role in the creation of Bryant’s acclaimed International Business program in 2004. One of the first classes Yobaccio taught was International Finance. "I made a regular pest of myself with administrators," she recalls, as she promoted the value of a global focus on business disciplines. "I finally was given the green light with a blank slate to create an international business program." She still marvels at the responsibility entrusted to her.

The award will be made annually to a graduating senior in International Business who demonstrates leadership and service through on- and off-campus initiatives related to the discipline.

The International Business program has grown dramatically in scope and reputation while retaining many of the original elements, and it holds a notable place in Yobaccio’s heart and career. "I'm so grateful to have had the affiliation with the program and the acclaim it has received," she explains. With this is mind, Yobaccio and her husband, Ronald, have made a commitment to the Yobaccio Family Award for Leadership in International Business. The award was established in support of Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future.

The cash award will be made annually to a graduating senior in International Business who demonstrates leadership and service through on- and off-campus initiatives related to the discipline. Yobaccio’s faculty colleagues have made gifts in her honor that will support the award until the endowment fund matures. "These gifts are a gesture of our esteem and gratitude for what Betty has done for so many of us, faculty and students. We want her legacy to be enriched and eternal," explains Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Business.

"Betty was a pioneer of the interdisciplinary culture at Bryant University," adds Annavarjula. "She has been involved in some of the most innovative programs in the College of Business – including creating the multinational business simulation, and being an enthusiastic support of Financial Services and Entrepreneurship. The International Business Program was strategically created with the minor in a second language and the study abroad requirement. It is one of our interdisciplinary success stories."

"I have so much gratitude for the opportunities I've had at Bryant," says Yobaccio. "I first came here as a freshly-minted student from the graduate program at Boston University. The first year, Bryant put me on the strategic planning committee for the academic affairs division. Where else would that happen? I’ve always felt a part of the new direction of the University."