USFSM students inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, join top business students worldwide

L to R: USFSM College of Business Dean Emeritus Dr. Robert Anderson, Nicholas Joblonski, Lauren Henry, Melissa Bontrager, Julie Rio, Alexis Brodil, Gregory Farrenkopf and USFSM College of Business Interim Dean Dr. James Curran.

L to R: USFSM College of Business Dean Emeritus Dr. Robert Anderson, Nicholas Joblonski, Lauren Henry, Melissa Bontrager, Julie Rio, Alexis Brodil, Gregory Farrenkopf and USFSM College of Business Interim Dean Dr. James Curran.

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 24, 2015)  – Thirteen USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Business students can now count themselves among the elite worldwide.

In a brief ceremony Friday at the campus’ Selby Auditorium, six were officially inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the prestigious international honor society for business students.

Another seven students who could not attend the ceremony were admitted as well and will receive their membership certificates later.

“It’s an honor, especially to be in the first group (from USF Sarasota-Manatee) to be accepted,” said Lauren Henry, 20, a junior who attended the ceremony with her mother, Maryl.

The induction included gold-colored lapel pins and certificates for the students.

Joining the century-old academic society meant so much more, however.

BGS members represent the top 5 percent of juniors and 10 percent of seniors enrolled in business colleges worldwide. The top 20 percent of graduate students are included as well. In short, they are the academic elite.

“BGS members have served as CEOs of many major corporations, including General Motors, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, Lowe’s, Kroger, DuPont, Travelers, most major accounting firms, investment firms and major banks,” said Celina Jozsi, a representative from the organization, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), that accredits BGS chapters.

That same association also accredited USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Business, securing its official standing as one of the nation’s top business schools.

Once that recognition was achieved, organizers set out to pursue creation of a BGS chapter here.

For Julie Rio, 52, a junior, acceptance into the society Friday signaled that her long, hard work in and out of the classroom had not gone unnoticed.

“I have to show the younger generation what they can do,” the grandmother and mother of four said, cradling her 10-month-old granddaughter, Clare.

Smiling, and with her daughter, Mary, 27, standing nearby, the Bradenton resident added that she was “setting the bar” for her children.

Dr. James Curran, interim dean of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Business, said establishment of a BGS chapter represents the apex of a years-long accreditation effort.

AACSB accredited the College of Business in March 2014 after an exhaustive review process that at one point saw business professors from three universities visiting USF Sarasota-Manatee to pore over its business programs.

After that, it took another year to establish the BGS chapter to admit the college’s top business students.

Curran said the AACSB recognition elevates the business college’s standing worldwide and might even contribute to higher enrollment. Some employers look for BGS membership on resumes.

Beta Gamma Sigma was established in 1913 when three societies from universities in California, Illinois and Wisconsin came together to create a business college honor society.

The six USF Sarasota-Manatee students inducted into BGS Friday were:

Melissa Bontrager

Alexis Brodil

Lauren Henry

Nicholas Joblonski

Julie Rio

Gregory Farrenkopf

Those inducted, but who will receive their certificates later are:

Crystal Carpenter

Mary Pat Coughlin

Jessica Kendrick

Jesus Munoz Sanchez

Michelle Teeter

Tyler White

Elisha Evangelisto