Today: Jun 17, 2024

School of Business hosts first-ever Diversity Celebration event

Jay Mi’ Vazquez – News Editor

The inaugural School of Business Diversity Celebration took place on Oct. 17 in the new business building’s common center. 

University faculty, students and successful business owners and members in the New Haven area were welcome to come to the event.  

“We are here to recognize achievements and contributions of individuals who have made a contribution in the entrepreneurial spirit with an unwavering commitment to promoting their diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. In doing so, they are creating opportunity and giving back to their community,” Interim President Dwayne Smith said in his welcoming speech.   

Smith said that diversity at the university is the best thing the university has. Smith said he is honored to serve as the president of the university to continue to enrich and inspire the continuation of diversity.  

“We are great because of the scholars that we serve. Southern is the most diverse university in the state of Connecticut. Almost 50% of our student population of over 8,500 are students of color. No other university can top that,” Smith said 

Dean of the School of Business Jess Boronico said he is honored to celebrate the black business community in the new business building. 

“Diversity is very important to me and our school. We embrace diversity and the multiple perspectives and viewpoints that people provide us with in terms of helping us grow and develop as a school because we know diversity matters,” Boronico said. 

The topics discussed after the welcome greetings included navigating the capital landscape with Marie Rocha of Realist Ventures and an award presentation to Breed Entertainment, Outreach Realty Services, Gorilla Lemonade and Cool Amps Energy Solutions. 

Aaron Rogers of Breed Entertainment said that he is honored to receive an award.  

“We’re here celebrating diversity and getting acknowledged in the work that we have done,” Rogers said. “We also have an arts school where we teach students in the inner-city community to get them into the entertainment industry.” 

Rogers said that Breed Entertainment is a business venture he started primarily related to music producing. Rogers is a grammy-nominated, multi-platinum producer who has worked with artists such as Chris Brown, Tee Grizzley, Trey Songs and many others. 

Marie Rocha of Realist Ventures offered advice to other entrepreneurs and students at the event, discussing some of the things she has learned and is working on. 

“We are an accelerator program, where we take your ideas and give you money to help businesses flourish and grow,” Rocha said.  

Arthur Thomas from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Marie Rocha both said they have plans of doing work with the university to enrich the business programs. 

“We will collaborate with Southern to evaluate the business courses with our expertise,” Thomas said. “We want to make students feel rewarded. We plan to provide badges to show students leveling up in the business courses.” 

The purpose of this collaboration is to guide students who want to be entrepreneurs to have that experience and have the opportunity to grow and thrive once they graduate, Rocha said. 

“If we don’t collab, we won’t have the chance to grow,” Rocha said. 

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