Willimantic, Conn. – Eastern Connecticut State University’s 20th Annual Accounting Banquet occurred April 21st in the Student Center’s Betty R. Tipton Room. The event hosted nearly 200 students, alumni, emeriti professors and current faculty for an evening of reflection and recognition of Eastern’s Accounting Program.
The banquet opened with welcoming remarks from Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “While our students typically outperform all other accounting students in the state on the annual Connecticut CPA exam,” said Núñez, “here at Eastern we don’t produce ‘accountants’; we produce liberally educated people who happen to be accountants. Beyond your talents and skills, the foundation of your career is your character.”
Guest speaker and alumna Kristin Hustus ’04, audit manager with CohnReznick, spoke on the topic of emotional intelligence in the workplace. “Emotions help you to engage and connect with people,” said Hustus. “Interaction is part of the job, so reach out and build relationships.” Hustus concluded with a few bits of advice: “Be confident but also humble. Know that you can be replaced, so put forth the effort and show that you care.”
Current accounting majors also reflected on their experiences. “The faculty connect with you on a personal level and assist with finding internship and job opportunities,” said Tim Galipeau, a graduating senior. “I’m finishing an internship with BlumShapiro, the largest regional accounting firm in New England, and hope to work there upon graduating.”
Following dinner, awards and scholarships were given to exceptional graduating accounting students. Nicole Brooks of Hebron, CT was awarded the Connecticut Society of CPAs (CTCPA) Junior Award; Richard Gabriel of Uncasville, CT was awarded the CTCPA Merit Award; Melanie Krol of Wallingford, CT was awarded the BlumShapiro Award; Regene Abandula of Groton, CT was awarded the O’Connor Davies Award; and Fang Chen of Storrs, CT and Kelly Labanara of Chaplin, CT were awarded the Founders of Accounting Award.
Many accounting alumni also attended the event. “My education as an accounting major was a great first step,” said Matthew Coit ’12. “Currently I’m an auditor with a large firm. I was offered the position before I even graduated.”
“I’m impressed with the progress of the accounting program,” said Joseph Lobe ’03, an attorney with Mohegan Sun. “It has grown in size and status, as you can tell by the sheer number of people here tonight.”
Throughout the evening, past and present students praised the department’s faculty—not only for their expertise, but also their character. “All of my professors have been very helpful. They supplement bookwork with real-life examples,” said Josibelk Aponte, a senior majoring in accounting, “and they stress the need to have integrity and be ethical.”