One event marks two major achievements for School of Accounting.

Accounting students, alumni, faculty, and friends gathered on June 19, 2008, as the School of Accounting in the College of Business Administration celebrated two special milestones: its 25th year of accreditation from the AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)—and the official launch of its Alumni Affinity Council (SOAAAC).

Sharon Lassar, director, School of Accounting; Manny Dieguez, retiring accounting professor; and Alfredo Cepero (BACC ’88)

In 1983, the university applied for and received accreditation for the School of Accounting from AACSB. While business programs must satisfy a wide range of quality standards to achieve AACSB accreditation, schools of accounting must satisfy even higher ones. So, it was an accomplishment to celebrate when AACSB International re-affirmed its accreditation of the School of Accounting in April, 2008.

“One reason the university has been able to maintain AACSB accreditation for its School of Accounting is our interaction with the accounting profession and with alumni,” said Sharon Lassar, the school’s director.

SOAAAC to play multiple roles.

As evidence of that close relationship with its alumni, a group of dedicated accounting alumni began meeting regularly to form the School of Accounting Alumni Affinity Council (SOAAAC), a sub-group of the Business Alumni Chapter. Co-chairs Benjamin Diaz (EMST ’96, BACC ’95) and Ed Duarte (BACC ’98) lead the group. Maria Byrd (BACC ’95), Fred Campos (BACC ’98), Carlos Capurro (MACC ’07), Valerie Colimon (BACC ’06), Yvette Hernandez (BBA ’04), Jorge Herrera (BBA ’86), Angel Iglesias (BACC ’94), Mario Nowogrodzki (BACC ’89), Noemi Perez (BACC ’02), Aimee Prieto (BACC ’07), Erbin Ramirez (BACC ’98), Josh Rodriguez (BACC ’87), Eric Santa Maria (BACC ’01), Patrica Siles (MACC ’96, BACC ’94), Diego Suarez (MACC ’06), and Marcel Varela (BBA ’97) sit on the steering committee.

As its first task, the SOAAAC hosted a kickoff event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the School of Accounting.

Nicole Chin (BACC ’00), Roary, and Ed Duarte (BACC ’98)

“There is a natural affinity among our accounting alumni,” said Monique Catoggio (EMBA ’03), director of advancement and alumni relations. “Some of them tell me it was because of the difficulty in getting our degree. So, it’s no surprise that when we decided to host a reunion the turnout would be spectacular. With nearly 300 alumni attending, the energy was high, and the evening was very special and memorable.”

The evening of the event, Tony Argiz (BBA ’74), a long-time supporter of the college and the university, shared insights on the growth of the school and his pride in his alma mater. Alfredo Cepero (BACC ’88), a member of the School of Accounting Advisory Board and the Alumni Circle, said a few farewell words to Manny Dieguez on behalf of the students, alumni, and faculty for his 32 years teaching accounting at the university.

Accounting alumnus Raul Cremata (BBA ’82) made a special presentation. Accountant turned artist and gallery owner, he donated a painting to the College of Business Administration Complex that will now hang in the common area of the Office Depot Student Center.

If you are interested in being a part of the School of Accounting Alumni Affinity Council, please contact Michelle Joubert at 305-348-0397 or

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