Eighteenth BBA+ Weekend group graduates.

Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs, and Charles Soto, class vice president, accepting the leadership award for Myrtle Alexander, class president.

Fifty-one of the fifty-three students who began the BBA+ Weekend program in the fall of 2004 will graduate in the summer of 2006. A celebratory dinner took place on July 7, 2006, in the Graham Center Ballroom for the group—the eighteenth and the largest to complete the program in its ten-year history. With its lock-step, technology-enabled, customized curriculum, the BBA+ enables students who have associate degrees and are majoring in either management or international business to earn a business degree in just seven twelve-week sessions.

Donald Roomes, director of the BBA+ programs, welcomed the graduates and made opening remarks. Clifford Perry, Department of Management and International Business and the associate dean of the Landon Undergraduate School in the college, extended greetings from Joyce J. Elam, the college’s executive dean, to the students.

Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs; Victor Navarro, valedictorian; and Charles Soto, class vice president.

“In my comments, I focused on four words that I found relevant to this very special group,” Roomes said. “The first was ‘ability.’ From the beginning, I knew we had something special in terms of their ability. They were very good about communicating with the office, and, at the end, we had more graduates with a 3.0 or better GPA than ever before, and many have already begun graduate school.”

The other words he used to describe the group were opportunity, leadership, and companionship.

“They did much to show us that they valued the opportunity to be in the program and get their degrees,” he said. “Also, we had very strong leaders, including Myrtle Alexander, class president, whom the faculty honored with the leadership award and who is now an exchange student in a French immersion program in Canada. Charles Soto, class vice president, accepted the award on her behalf and made witty, eloquent remarks. Another leader, Marvin Rivas, created a slide show of memories that was very emotional. As far as companionship is concerned, the students really valued each other and plan to stay in touch, either in graduate work or outside school.”

Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs, and Victor Navarro, valedictorian.

Brian Schriner, professor of speech and forensics, received the Circle of Excellence award from the class.

Valedictorian had special reason for seeking a bachelor’s degree.

Victor Navarro, director of business development for Inworx, software solution providers with headquarters in Argentina, was class valedictorian. He had his associate’s degree from Miami Dade College, and it was there that he learned about the college’s BBA+ program.

“I was looking for a weekend program and wanted the classroom experience, rather than an online option,” he said. “One of my professors at Miami Dade College mentioned the BBA+ program in the College of Business Administration.”

Marvin Rivas

Many working professionals opt for a bachelor’s degree to advance in their jobs or to acquire the credentials to change careers. But, Navarro had his current job when he began the program and had no plans to move on. He had a very different reason for pursuing the degree.

“I wanted to get it for my young daughter’s sake,” he said. “I have been very lucky in my professional life, but my experiences have not been the norm. I was afraid that she would look at my business success and be tempted to drop out of school in the future because it would seem as though she didn’t need the schooling to succeed.”

Keeping the idea of his daughter in mind was a huge inspiration for Navarro as he contended with the demands of job, family, and school, managing to do that that well enough to graduate with a 4.0 GPA. However, graduating at the top of the class was not something he planned.

Brian Schriner, professor of speech and forensics; Clifford R. Perry, Associate Dean, R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School of Business, and Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs.

“I just kept motivated,” he said. “I think it’s important to be consistent, to do something every day, and not to wait till the last minute—in other words, to use good time management techniques.”

He also feels that he owes a great deal to his classmates.

“We were a good group,” he said. “We supported each other and helped each other.”

Navarro, who already is enrolled in an MBA program that enables him to take classes one weekend a month, said he would recommend the BBA+ Weekend program to any working professional.

“It was fantastic and I’d recommend it 100 percent,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about registration, which classes to take, or which professors you’ll have because everything is handed to you. The staff accommodates the students, for example, by not scheduling exams at the same time and by creating a well-balanced curriculum so that classes that demand more projects and extra hours outside the classroom are not all given at the same time but are mixed with classes that require less outside work.”

Cohort 18, BBA+ Weekend program.

More information about the BBA+ program, which also offers a morning option called BBA+ Sunrise, can be found at http://business.fiu.edu/landon/b

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