BBA+ Weekend’s 21st group celebrates graduation.

BBA+ Cohort 21 Graduation

September 28, 2007, was different for the 43 students in the 21st group to complete the College of Business Administration’s eleven-year-old BBA+ Weekend program. Most Friday nights during the past 21 months, they would have been hard at work, studying for their Saturday classes. But on this Friday night, celebration replaced study as they marked their completion of the program at a dinner during which they gave and got awards.

Donald Roomes, director of the BBA+ programs, welcomed the graduates and made opening remarks. Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam extended greetings to the hard-working students and their supportive families and invited graduates to stay connected as new alumni.

On the faculty side, Juan Pujol, adjunct professor, Department of Management and International Business, received the Circle of Excellence Award as best professor. Among the students, Samantha Kugler was honored with the Leadership Award of Excellence and Annette Jernigan was named class valedictorian.

“I saw character develop and leaders emerge.”

Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs

Donald Roomes, director, BBA+ programs, addresses graduates.

“A bond developed that changed them from a group to a family,” Roomes said. “Their closeness was manifested as the program evolved. I saw character develop and leaders emerge. The students also had incredible stick-to-itiveness, indicated partially by the fact that 43 of the 47 students who started the program completed it.”

Jernigan turns her attention to the next academic challenge.

For Jernigan, manager, real estate administration, Baptist Health, completing her bachelor’s degree was a long-awaited milestone in her academic career.

“I had an associate of arts degree and then decided to take a break,” said this mother of two teenage boys whose job involves managing a staff of six that oversees 32 properties owned by the hospital. “After 23 years, the break was over.”

Though she consistently received promotions, she knew that to make the next leap—to director level—she needed her bachelor’s degree. She looked specifically at Florida International University because “of the great reputation of the business school,” and thought the BBA+ Weekend would work best with her busy schedule.

Valedictorian Annette Jernigan flanked by sons Richard, left, and Michael, right.

“It was very demanding, since I was at my computer every night till midnight,” she said. “It was also very rewarding, and being named valedictorian enabled me to raise the bar for my sons’ academic achievements.”

Jernigan already is looking ahead to her next degree from the college. She wants to enroll in the ten-month Master of Accounting (MACC) program—another Saturday offering—and get her CPA.

Learn more.

For more information about the BBA+ program, which also offers a morning option called BBA+ Sunrise, visit

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