Busy Day at the Albers School

Posted by Barbara Hauke on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 10:25 AM PDT


Last Friday was a busy day in the Albers School.  Hard to imagine, but we started with a school meeting at 10:00 AM!  That may be unprecedented.  At the meeting we covered Albers’ involvement in the Seattle University Youth Initiative, our process to review our undergraduate business core curriculum, our new Health Leadership EMBA program, and our assessment process for international business. 

Then, starting at noon, we had the finals of the 13th annual Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition.  It seems like it gets better and better every year.  The competition started with a luncheon, with Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint and co-founder of Blue Nile as the featured speaker.  He did such a fine job there was no need for me to provide an inspiring speech! 

I had to leave by the time the presentations of the five final teams began, so I missed that and the announcing of the results at the awards ceremony, where $30,000 in prize money was awarded.  Among other things, I had to be ready for the Albers Awards Ceremony at 4:00 PM.  What can I say?  It was a busy day for the Albers School.  It's a shame so many of us had to be in two places at once, but that is what happens in the spring quarter when you are doing so many end of the year events. 

Of course, the competition did not start last week, but back in the winter quarter with a call for entries, followed by the initial screening round.  Judges reviewed 34 plans.  This narrowed the competition to 20, who then competed in the Elevator Pitch and Trade Show competitions.  You make it through that and you are in the finals.  There were five teams in the finals. I’m told the judges had a very difficult time ranking the five finalists, but Feral Motion was the eventual winner. 

The competition is a great example of how we rely on volunteers from the Seattle business community to educate our students.  Steve Brilling, our Entrepreneurship Center director, estimates there were some 160 volunteers in the process.  Wow!! 

The business plan competition is a great learning experience for the students who participate, especially those who make it deep into the competition.  And increasingly, we see that these business plans become viable businesses.  Mobata, Vera Fitness, and Girlie Girl Wine are all examples. 

Congratulations to Steve, Kim Eshelman, administrative assistant for the center, and all the other folks involved in making the competition a success! 

At the Albers Awards Ceremony we get to recognize our most outstanding students for their accomplishments at SU.  Twenty-three different awards are distributed to students.  Some of the more notable awards are the Paul Volpe Award (highest undergraduate academic performance), the Spirit of Albers Award (the student who best exemplifies the Albers mission to develop ethical and socially responsible leaders), and the Jerry Viscione Award (highest graduate student academic performance).  Congratulations to Ajla Aljic, Bill Santucci, and Andrew Barfoot respectively for receiving these awards!  Bill’s award is particularly impressive, since he has received the top academic award four years in a row.  He will also be receiving the President’s Award at graduation, which is the top award for all undergraduate students at SU.   

The ceremony is followed by a reception for parents and friends.  Then, at 5:30 PM, we were supposed to start the Beta Gamma Sigma installation ceremony.  However, the award ceremony was a bit behind schedule, so we started closer to 6:00 PM. 

BGS is the academic honorary for business students.  Those inducted are our strongest students, which makes for another inspirational event.  Fred DeKay always does a terrific job of organizing our BGS ceremony, but Fred is on a leave of absence this quarter, so he persuaded Madhu Rao and Hildegard Hendrickson to fill in.  Hildegard is a legendary emeritus faculty member in our school, who retired in 1996.  It’s always good to see her at the BGS ceremony.   We inducted 31 undergraduate and 62 graduate students into BGS!  The BGS Professor of the Year award went to Carlos Mello-e-Souza.  That is quite an honor, Carlos!  It’s coming from our most demanding students! 

My day was not done after the BGS ceremony, however.  My final stop was at a fundraiser for The Roots Project, which is a NGO focusing on improving the economic status of women in South Sudan.  I am planning to meet later this week with the founder, Anyieth D’Awol, to see if there are ways for Albers to collaborate with her organization.  [Anyieth is the daughter-in-law of Frank McKulka, who is on the advisory board of our soon to be launched Center for Business Ethics.]