Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Gus Machado School of Business Complex

St. Thomas University will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for its new Gus Machado School of Business Complex.

The ceremony will be held at 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the future site of the new building, across the Saint Anthony Chapel on campus.

The new complex will have state-of-the-art classrooms with a robust technology infrastructure. It will include a trading room and a global conference auditorium. Housed in it will be the Center for Cybersecurity; the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; the Center for Sports Administration; and the Center for Trade and Logistics. The Gus Machado School of Business offers 21 different undergraduate degrees and 27 different graduate degrees.

Speakers include Msgr. Franklyn Casale, president of St. Thomas University; Gus and Lilliam Machado, South Florida business leaders and entrepreneurs; Jorge Rico, trustee and co-chair of the Gus Machado School of Business Advisory Board; and Dr. Somnath Bhattacharya, dean of the Gus Machado School of Business.

Gus Machado, a well-respected South Florida business leader and entrepreneur, generously gave the naming gift that makes this new building complex possible. Machado came from Cuba as a young man, became an American citizen, and worked hard to build an auto dealership company. He and his wife Lilliam gave the gift because they want to support the success of young people who come from modest backgrounds.

St. Thomas expects the new building to open in a year and a half.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

STU Alumnus brings book signing tour to Miami

Robert E. Constant '01

Robert E. Constant, a product of Miami Norland Senior High and a 2001 graduate of St. Thomas University, has written the first children’s book about the historic Tuskegee University, where he received his undergraduate education. “Hey Tuskegee!” follows two siblings as they relive the accomplishments of iconic African-Americans, including the university’s founder, Booker T. Washington.

Join Robert, during his book tour, at Barnes and Noble in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 1 p.m. He will be on hand for a reading and signing of his children’s book debut. STU caught up with Robert and asked him a few questions about his career and time at St. Thomas.

Tell us about your years at St. Thomas University.
My years at St. Thomas University were fantastic! I spent both years working full-time with the Florida Marlins, planning a wedding with then girlfriend and now wife of 18 years, and studying when I could! Those years were all a blur, but it was such an exciting time to be a part of the sports industry because many of my classmates were already working in the business with organizations and teams like the Marlins, Dolphins, Hurricanes, Panthers and the Orange Bowl Committee. Bringing that sort of experience to the classroom just enhanced our graduate school experience. This was clearly one of St. Thomas’ strengths as a Sports Administration program!

How has St. Thomas helped you in meeting your goals?
STU increased my ability to prioritize as I had a demanding work schedule, but moreover, the experience sharpened my ability in working collaboratively within small groups.

Tell us about your career journey and how you ended up where you are today.
My career journey has been an exciting an unpredictable ride as I have worked for several top universities, but also had the chance to work in professional sports. I never expected to find my way into University Advancement, however, many of the skills I gained in college and professional sports are highly valued as a professional fundraiser. When opportunity knocks you have to determine if the upside is greater than the risk. For me, I continue to believe that making the move to University Advancement has paid huge dividends in allowing me to leverage my skills in strategic planning, marketing, entrepreneurship, teamwork, fundraising and leadership.

So far, what accomplishments, both personally and professionally, are you most proud of and why?
Personally, nothing beats watching the birth of your children and having the opportunity to pass along everything you were taught. Professionally, starting the Regional Major Gift Program at Rutgers University and having a successful 9-year stint rising from the first ever Central Major Gift Officer to leading the Regional Major Gift team as the Associate Vice President.

What is your most memorable experience from when you were a student at STU?
Hands down, it was the night that former Director of Athletics at the University of Miami, Paul Dee, visited class in the middle of UM’s head football coach search. Hearing him describe the experience and how the press was literally following his every move put a lot of things in perspective for me. Given his role at the University of Miami and the time constraints that go with it, I was impressed that he cared enough to still visit our class and share some of his advice and wisdom with us. That moment just underscored the respect he had for the Sports Administration Program at St. Thomas and our very own, Dr. Jan Bell!

What advice would you give to current students and/or young alumni?
Current students and/or young alumni need to follow their heart and use their natural and gained skill sets to focus on opportunities that bring them the most joy! Whether you find a career interest or create something from scratch, always pursue your dreams with an obsession that drives you to seek excellence and a higher level of achievement.

Robert E. Constant is a senior level fundraising administrator with over 20 years of experience in higher education. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Tuskegee University in 1998, Robert earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens in 2001.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New bike sharing program comes to St. Thomas University

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, lime green bikes will be taking over the STU campus! LimeBike, a new dock-less bike share program at St. Thomas, allows users to find, unlock, and rent bikes with their smartphones.

LimeBike will provide 120 bikes available for rental at various locations throughout campus, and there’s no kiosk docking station so bikes can be ridden anywhere and parked at any bike rack or designated bike parking area on campus.

The first five rides are free. After the promotional five free rides have been used, a 30-minute ride is only $.50 for STU students and employees who register using email accounts.

A kickoff party will take place in the Convocation Hall, Jan. 10, at 12:15 p.m. On this day, bike rentals will be free of charge!

LimeBike provides a free app in the Google Play Store for Android users and the App Store for iPhone users. In the app you will find information on how to use the bikes, bike locations, promotions, and more.

*For security and safety concerns, we advise that bikes NOT be taken off campus after sundown.

Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 Fall Commencement: Congratulations, Bobcats!

After years of challenging and rewarding work, 495 St. Thomas University students earned their degree on Saturday, Dec. 16, during the fall commencement ceremony. Family, friends, students, faculty and staff gathered at the Fernandez Family Center to celebrate this important milestone.

Also in attendance celebrating graduates was the newly appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and St. Thomas alumnus, Bishop Enrique Delgado, who was the commencement speaker. His speech urged graduates to persevere and to look to the future with optimism.

The degrees included 110 baccalaureate degrees; 327 graduate degrees; 42 law-related degrees; and 16 doctorate degrees.
For more photos from commencement, click here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

St. Thomas University Announces Appointment of New Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

St. Thomas University President Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale announced the appointment of Anita D. Britt as its chief financial and administrative officer effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The appointment reflects the University’s transformative mission in becoming the leading Catholic University in the Southeast. Britt has served on the St. Thomas Board of Trustees and as the co-chair for the Gus Machado School of Business advisory board over the last five years. She brings more than 30 years of global business experience from companies including Perry Ellis International and Jones Group. She began her career as a CPA at Coopers and Lybrand. 

"Ms. Britt has been a terrific contributor to St. Thomas University as a trustee, and she brings a strong understanding of the University’s forward path as it builds on its core competencies in law, business, sports management, and nursing among other programs,” said Monsignor Casale. “She brings a strong skill set, which will complement and enhance the University’s future while also understanding its Catholic intellectual tradition.”

John Dooner, chairman of the Board of Trustees, added, “Anita brings a passion for the University, which coupled with her financial sensibility will support the forward vision for St. Thomas on its road to becoming the leading Catholic University in the Southeast. I, along with my fellow trustees, am thrilled to have her experience and skill set driving the University into the future.”

Britt succeeds Terrence “Terry” O’Connor, who has served as St. Thomas’ CFO for the past 11 years. O’Connor will assist the University in an advisory capacity until his retirement date of March 31, 2018.

“We are especially grateful to Terry for his contributions and service to St. Thomas over the years,” said Monsignor Casale. “He has been my right hand for over a decade, and his contributions have led St. Thomas to solid positioning.”

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Business graduates take third place in global investment challenge

Five STU graduate students at the Gus Machado School of Business came out in the top three at the Peeptrade University Challenge, an investment competition that pitted them against graduates from around the world including top-tier business schools like Princeton, MIT, John Hopkins University, London Business School, University of South California, and several others.

From Oct. 2 to Dec. 2, STU students Fabian Heinrich, Tony Mamodaly, Elaine Pons, Luis Martin, and Garrick Amedee successfully managed a $1 million virtual money portfolio, and presented their investment methodology to a panel of judges at the University of Chicago.

St. Thomas finished with a 12.24 percent return, and ranked third in the world, and was the top performing school in the United States. Vlerick Business School in Belgium came in first place with a 13.33 percent return; and Nanyang Technological University came in second place with a 8.55 percent return. The winners were judged on several factors in addition to the return on investment.

Peeptrade formed the challenge with the objective of giving students hands-on experience in the financial markets. 

“Competitions like this are a more realistic, yet fun experience than any classroom or textbook exercise could have given them,” said Somnath Bhattacharya, dean of the Gus Machado School of Business. “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students that simulated a real world investment environment.”

Friday, December 1, 2017

STU business graduates go head-to-head with Ivy Leagues

A group of graduate students at St. Thomas University—Fabian Heinrich, Tony Mamodaly, Elaine Pons, Luis Martin, and Garrick Amedee—is currently participating in the Peeptrade University Challenge, an investment competition, which began Oct. 2, 2017. STU students are among other distinguished universities, such as Princeton, the University of Chicago, MIT, the London School of Business, and the University of Miami, showcasing their investment selection and risk management skills.

As of Nov. 30, STU is in second place. During the first seven weeks of the competition, STU’s portfolio has returned 10.49 percent compared to 2.83 percent for its benchmark, the S&P 500 index. The Top 5 teams, which includes STU, will be presenting their portfolio strategy to a professional panel of judges at the University of Chicago on Dec. 2, 2017.

By creating an investment portfolio and competing against top universities across the globe, this challenge provides real-life experience in the investment management profession. The objective of the competition is not simply the highest return, but rather a broad array of performance metrics including strategy execution, risk-adjusted return, and adherence with the portfolio’s investment policy statement. This process provides STU’s students with valuable training for their future careers.

The competing students are also members of the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) at STU. The SMIF has both undergraduate and graduate students managing a real-money portfolio under the guidance of faculty advisers Dr. Leslee Higgins, Associate Dean Lloyd Mitchell, and Professor Kevin Brady, the latter of which has offered guidance to the Peeptrade competitors through his experience as an equity trader.

The investment competition and the SMIF highlight two ways the students that attend the Gus Machado School of Business enhance opportunities to add value to their classroom training.