College of Business Communications Feature
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The members of the Class of 2009 started their college careers off with a cool treat, a group photo, and some inspiring words.

"You're at a wonderful institution," said Elaine Weiss, who, although she is not an alumna of Illinois, works daily with graduates of the College in her role as president and CEO of the Illinois CPA Society. Graduates of the nationally ranked Department of Accountancy curriculum are "always among the best of the brightest."

Associate Dean Victor Mullins.Weiss was among the speakers at the College of Business Welcome, held on August 22 in Foellinger Auditorium. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Victor Mullins hosted the event, which followed a freshman class photo on the steps of the 1907 building on the south end of the quad. Ice cream and an orange t-shirt were gifts from the College to the new students.

Mullins noted that members of the Class of 2009 are accomplished and well-rounded and statistically the best class ever admitted to the College. "You should be proud."


"Be proactive and persistent," said Huseyin Leblebici, professor and chairman of the Department of Business Administration. He told the freshmen that learning is a joint venture with the faculty, requiring collaboration and questioning. According to Leblebici, learning, by design, takes place outside the classroom as well as in class.

Hetal Patel, a sophomore in finance who only a year ago was sitting in the audience for her welcome ceremony, offered three Ps of her own: play, participate, and persist. "Attempt what you think you'll fail at," she advised. "Put yourself in the uncomfortable position to grow and succeed." As a freshman, Patel challenged herself by participating in the College's job shadow program, studying abroad in a honors class that visited the Far East, and having an internship over the summer.

Getting involved was a theme that ran through the remarks of all the speakers. "The more you get involved, the more you get out of the experience," said Dean Avijit Ghosh. "Become part of the Illinois legacy."

Jeff Golman is a part of that legacy. The 1977 graduate in accountancy, who is the vice chairman of Mesirow Financial in Chicago, told the freshmen that he worked hard and played hard while on campus. "Expect to make mistakes," he said. "Try, fail, and have the courage to try again." Among his recommendations: work for the best grades possible, spend some time abroad, and participate in extracurricular activities to gain leadership experience. Friendships he made on campus endure today and have provided the investment banker with significant business referrals over the years.

"Feel proud and secure in the decision you made to attend Illinois," advised Goldman, whose daughter is a member of the class of 2009. "My education gave me the skills and confidence to succeed."

--Ginny Hudak-David
August 2005