Every May, COBA holds a dinner to celebrate our graduating seniors as well as to honor outstanding students, faculty and staff. On Friday, May 6th, almost 300 people attended the event held at the Hunter Welcome Center. Dr. Andy Little welcomed the crowd and recognized students and their families for all of the hard work and sacrifice it took for them to reach the milestone of graduating from college.
Each year we ask a student representative from each department to provide an Au Revoir to their classmates and faculty, reflecting on their experiences in COBA and at ACU. This year’s student speakers were Hayley Griffin, management major from Quanah, Texas and Austin Cotton, financial management major from Keller, Texas. Each reflected on their time in the College of Business and thanked faculty and their parents for making a difference in their lives.
It is also a COBA tradition to ask a parent of one of our graduates to speak on behalf of all parents of the graduating class. This year we were delighted to have Rick Lytle, former COBA Dean, current Director for the Lytle Center for Leadership and Faith Development, CEO and President of CEO Forum, and father of now three ACU alumni, as our parent speaker. Rick is the father of Michelle Lytle, marketing major from Abilene, Texas. Dr. Lytle encouraged the students to live lives both personally and professionally which make a difference for the kingdom of God in their workplace, community, and home. Dr. Lytle then had the pleasure of introducing the newly named Dean, Dr. Brad Crisp, as Dr. Crisp commended the students on the many activities and accomplishments they have achieved.
Dr. Crisp also recognized sixteen students who were chosen by the COBA faculty that symbolize three COBA values: Competence, Character, and Community. The criteria for choosing students who fulfill those qualities are listed below as well as the names of the 2016 graduates who received the awards.
Competence – Professional competence is a prerequisite for capable leadership. These students have demonstrated that they understand how to create and deliver value in their work, think critically, communicate well, work in teams and understand the complexities of today’s global marketplace. COBA students to win this year’s award are: John Allen, Jaci Browning, Hayley Griffin, Evelyn Hernandez, Parker Mason, and Mandy Stratton.
Character – The intent of COBA is to graduate students who seek to glorify God in their personal and professional lives. These students stand out as examples for being able to discern right from wrong, articulate what they believe and why they believe it and behave consistently with those beliefs regardless of personal consequence. COBA students to win this year’s award are: Christy Duke, Callie Kerbo, Griffin Pedigo, Jason Proctor, and Connor Steinmetz.
Community – Successful business graduates give back by providing service and leadership in the workplace, their churches, homes and communities. These students have demonstrated that they understand how to serve and lead in the ACU community. COBA students to win this year’s award are: Austin Cotton, Emily Dosa, Michelle Lytle, Alyssa Timmons, and Rebekah Wood.
Each year, junior and senior students in the College of Business vote for their favorite teachers of the year. One professor is selected to receive the award in each academic department.
This year’s Teacher of the Year in Accounting and Finance is known for teaching his students the basics of accounting while doing so in a manner that is logical and interesting, for his love of coffee, and for playing his guitar for students. One student said, “He’s always very enthusiastic about the subject and he’s very good at relating to students as well as showing his interest in what the student is looking to do in the future.” Another student commented said, “He has a gentle, kind spirit and was always there to help, whether it be regarding accounting or just what’s going on in our lives. He was one of the best professors I have had in COBA.” The class of 2016 named Dr. David Perkins as Teacher of the Year in Accounting and Finance.
This year’s recipient of the Management Sciences Teacher of the Year award went to a professor who is known as one of the most entertaining professors in COBA. One student commented, “I never expected to learn so much about how BLAW was related to Hot Pocket commercials! He was one of the most entertaining, fun teachers I have had in COBA. Never a dull moment!” Another student said, “When you come into college, you expect to be taught by professors but you don’t expect to have them engage with you and walk alongside of you in your learning. That is something he has done beyond what I could imagine. He’s become more than a professor. He’s become a friend.” The class of 2016 named Andy Little as Teacher of the Year in Management Sciences.
The dean also honored two COBA staff members in recognition of their service to COBA and COBA students. The first 2016 Dean’s Award for Service went to Nuria Hall, academic advising specialist, who continuously goes above and beyond expectations. Nearly always she is among the first to offer help, create better solutions, and offer her Christ-like wisdom to enhance the overall experience for our students.
The second Dean’s Service Award was awarded to Karen Viertel, manager of COBA student services and academic advising, for her many years of service to the students, faculty and staff of COBA. Karen is the definition of team player and is always one of the first to help in any situation, whether that’s advising a student in her office on or a co-worker in the college, always with a servant-leader heart.
The evening concluded with a blessing from Associate Professor, Jozell Brister. Following the blessing, Madison Haggerton, management major from Keller, Texas led the group in the long held tradition of singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
Congratulations again, students! And to the students, their families and friends, we say thank you for allowing us to be walk alongsde with you over the last four years. May God bless each of you greatly as you enter into this new phase of your lives.
You can find more pictures from the evening on our COBA Facebook page. We will be hosting a separate event to honor December graduates at the end of the fall 2016 semester. Stay tuned for more details!