Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam receives prestigious ATHENA Award.

Joyce J. Elam receives ATHENA award.

When Joyce J. Elam, executive dean and James L. Knight Professor of Management Information Systems, College of Business Administration and Vice Provost FIU Online, received the Seventh Annual ATHENA for Miami-Dade County award from the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the college’s contingent attending the luncheon was thrilled, but not surprised.

They knew from personal experience that Elam embodies the criteria for the award, which recognizes individuals who “demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession; provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential.”

Still, the other six finalists feted at the luncheon were people of immense stature, with formidable accomplishments fulfilling each criterion.

“The finalists brought a rich and different perspective to the program,” said Sumit Kundu, Knight Ridder Center Research Professor, Department of Management and International Business. “This was truly a distinguished group.”

Irma Becerra-Fernández (PhD ’94) associate professor, Department of Decision Sciences and Information Systems (DSIS), agreed.

“She was in remarkable company, as all the nominees had done extraordinary things, like starting orphanages in India and feeding the lepers in Haiti,” she said.

Close up of Athena award trophy

However, she felt Elam’s selection was fully merited.

“When you consider the impact to our community of what she has done at Florida International University—including our college’s extensive graduate offerings, our entering the rankings, and the new business building complex—Elam was the most deserving,” Becerra-Fernández said.

Ed Glab, director, Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management, College of Business Administration; and Monique Catoggio (EMBA ’03), director, alumni and partner relations, College of Business Administration, shared Becerra-Fernández’s assessment of both the program and the award.

“I think the award was definitely warranted and all the more impressive because of the amazing level of achievement of the other finalists—from a journalist with fourteen Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award to a woman who treated lepers and adopted a couple with Alzheimer’s so their last years together would be decent,” Glab said.

“Her receipt of the award signifies the importance of business education and the direct impact of her work locally and abroad.”

Monique Catoggio (EMBA ’03), director, alumni and partner relations, College of Business Administration

Catoggio was “excited to see Elam recognized among women leaders in all fields and for the important causes they embrace. Her receipt of the award signifies the importance of business education and the direct impact of her work locally and abroad. She deserves this recognition for transforming the business school and breaking glass ceilings for many women administrators in the college and for students and alumni.”

From left, Sumit Kundu, Christos Koulamas, Ed Glab, and Sally M. Gallion, editor and assistant dean, College of Business Administration

In the opinion of Christos Koulamas, chair and Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair in Management Information Systems, DSIS, “The selection committee weighted heavily the fact that her contributions in the educational field have had a positive impact on the lives of many people whose educational opportunities were enhanced as a result of her actions.”

Not only were the finalists outstanding, but also the judges were. Six of the seven were former ATHENA Award recipients, including last year’s: Janet Reno.

“We are delighted and agree with the judges’ selection of our dean,” Glab said, a view with which Natalia Echeverría Sol, director, corporate relations, College of Business Administration, who extended the invitations to the attendees on Elam’s behalf, concurred.

“She fit the bill of everything the judges were looking for,” Sol said.

“I was very humbled and honored to be chosen as the recipient of the ATHENA Award given the incredible accomplishments of each of the finalists,” Elam said. “While I was the one honored, none of my accomplishments would have been possible without the dedication and support of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the college.”

Jen Herrera, news anchor, Channel 10, WPLG; Ed Williamson, president and CEO of title sponsor Williamson Cadillac HUMMER; Teri Logan, ATHENA chair and associate head of Miami Christian School; and Gloria Burns, executive director, Coral Gables Community Foundation, made the presentation to Elam on September 21, 2007.

Award-winning year unfolds for executive dean.

The ATHENA Award is the second major award Elam has received this year. In June, 2007, the fellows of the Academy of International Business (AIB) elected her “International Dean of the Year,” recognizing her for her contributions in fostering international business education at the university and elsewhere. Inducted at the organization’s annual meeting, she joined an elite list of deans from top international business schools around the world who have received the award.

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