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Honored for Business Excellence

Rande Somma ‘73 fought back tears as addressed a crowd of faculty, administrators, students and their families at RMU’s inaugural Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony on March 29. “There is a soul about this university that I didn’t know about,” he said. “I’m not sure if you know about it yet – but you will.”

Somma had just been named an honoree of RMU’s new chapter of the international honor society, which is exclusively for business students in AACSB accredited institutions. During the ceremony, which took place in RMU’s Massey Hall Theater, thirteen juniors and 14 seniors, along with 5 M.B.A. students, 3 M.S. in Nonprofit Management students, and 1 M.S. in Human Resource Management student, were inducted into the honor society, which represents the highest honor a business student can receive.

Derya A. Jacobs, Ph.D, dean of RMU’s School of Business introduced the two chapter honorees. “I am very emotional tonight,” she said, speaking to the students and attendees. “I am so proud of you all.”

“This is really a great accomplishment for the university,” said President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. “Our peers have now identified and recognized us as one of the top 5 percent among business schools.”

Somma received his B. S. in Business Administration from RMU and now serves as president and CEO of Rande Somma & Associates, a consulting firm focusing on leadership coaching and development. Previously, he served as corporate officer for Johnson Controls, Inc. He is also the founder of the Rande and Georgia Somma Integrity First Scholarships, $2,500 awards given annually to the four RMU business students who write the best essays analyzing moral or ethical issues in a business case study.

Somma said that the establishment of this new Beta Gamma Sigma chapter “speaks not only to the exceptional quality of the educational experience at RMU, but also to that of the extraordinary commitment to excellence embodied in the leadership of the university and the School of Business.” He also thanked the many people who had given of themselves to help him find success in life, and who had inspired him to, in turn, give back to others.

His fellow honoree, Douglas J. MacPhail ‘74, echoed this sentiment. “You have to give back,” he said. “You have to give back to your alma mater, family, community, and religious organization. We are role models and mentors for the next generation. Be willing to volunteer your time and resources.”

MacPhail, a native of New Jersey, said his parents had convinced him to come to Robert Morris, and he was glad he’d listened to them. Now a resident of Pittsburgh, he is in his 30th year with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he serves as senior vice president. “This university was willing to give me a chance,” he said. “Because of [RMU], I was able to flourish.”

Joseph DiAngelo, Ed.D., dean of the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, awarded the charter to RMU’s School of Business and spoke of its impressive growth. “This is a school that is on the move,” said DiAngelo, “– in step with the goals of a great, student-centered university.” He added, “I know your faculty have been in the vanguard of this movement – this revival of great teaching – by embracing and actively promoting the most progressive trends in education today.

“You are a part of the best that Pittsburgh has to offer,” he said.

– Valentine J. Brkich

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