By Matthew Biddle
School of Management accounting graduates understand the value of their UB education better than anyone else.
That’s why two groups of alumni recently came together to create new scholarship funds and support the next generation as they earn their degrees.
“When I was at the School of Management, I connected with various alumni who were invaluable in shaping my approach to life after graduation,” says Ryan Vaz, MBA ’02, MS ’03, partner – financial services at KPMG. “I was looking for an opportunity to pay that forward.”
Through fundraising events over the years, Vaz found a group of alumni within KPMG who all wanted to do more to help the School of Management and its accounting students. He pitched the idea of endowing a scholarship fund to a group of current and retired partners—and was humbled by their immediate support. The initiative got a further boost when the KPMG Foundation agreed to match their contributions dollar for dollar.
Their gifts have created the KPMG Accounting Excellence Fund, which will award a fellowship each year to an accounting student who demonstrates an interest in public accounting, with preference to minority students and students from underrepresented communities. Incoming master’s student Josephine Lindberg, BS ’22, will be the inaugural recipient.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion is a core strategic priority at KPMG,” Vaz says. “We hope the KPMG Accounting Excellence Fund creates opportunities for our minority and underrepresented students to further their academic careers and enter an important profession that has produced so many successful people.”
Jerald Jacobik, BS ’03, who serves on the School of Management’s Accounting Advisory Council, felt much the same way. The council assists the accounting program in myriad ways, striving to do everything they can to make a tangible impact on students’ lives.
That’s why Jacobik, as chair of the philanthropy committee, led an effort with other council members to endow the Accounting Advisory Council Fellowship, which will go to one deserving student each year. Incoming MS Accounting student Sebastien Henry, BS ’22, will be the scholarship’s first recipient.
“At UB, I was fortunate to have dedicated and genuine professors who went the extra mile for me,” says Jacobik, partner at Friedman LLP. “I wanted to give back in whatever way I was able and help students have the same great experience I had.”