SUNY Fredonia Alumnus Awards Scholarships to Business Students

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George Simmons, a '75 SUNY Fredonia alumnus (second from right), joins four students (from left): Cody Flett, Rachel Dunn, Morgan DiGilio and Sarah State, who are recipients of scholarships created by Mr. Simmons to advance the teaching of the professional sales process in the School of Business.
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SUNY Fredonia

Crediting the State University of New York at Fredonia as the foundation of his successful career in business,1975 graduate George Simmons has created and subsequently awarded four scholarships to three students and one recent graduate – all enrolled in the School of Business.

Mr. Simmons, senior partner of Derby Management, a Boston-based sales and marketing consulting firm, returned to his alma mater in January to present $500 scholarships to Morgan Giglio, a December ’22 graduate with a Business Administration degree; Rachel Dunn, a junior Business Administration: Management major; Sarah Slate, a senior majoring in Public Accountancy and Business Administration: Management; and Cody Flett, a senior majoring in Business Administration: Management.

All four students were recognized as top performers in BUAD 350: Special Topics: Business to Business Selling in the Fall 2022 semester.

The course has been formally approved as BUAD 246: Professional Business to Business Selling and will be offered in the fall semester.

Simmons and Charles Cornell, director of the Fredonia Technology Incubator, are working together to build student interest in a broad program of professional business to business selling. “This was an opportunity to attract well qualified students and expose them to a professional selling process, which most will use throughout their careers, no matter what field they choose to pursue,” Simmons said.

Nearly all universities offer degrees in marketing, Simmons noted, but only a few actually offer courses in professional selling. “In most organizations, sales professionals are the most highly compensated employees,” he added.

Each recipient has plans to put their scholarship to good use.

For Ms. Giglio, of Hornell, the scholarship will allow her to jump start student loan payments. “Beyond the monetary value, this scholarship and award helped me to become a better salesperson through the B2B sales course I had taken in order to earn this achievement,” she said.

Giglio said SUNY Fredonia has taught her how to conduct herself in a professional business environment and how to handle difficult situations that often arise within management. She indicated she was always offered assistance when it was needed and encouraged along her journey to graduation this past fall, and could not be prouder to be a Fredonia alumnus.

Ms. Dunn, of Orchard Park, will apply her scholarship toward tuition charges in the fall semester of her senior year and also help to further her education in business beyond SUNY Fredonia. “The scholarship will also benefit me since it can be added to my resume to emphasize my academic achievement as a business student,” Dunn said. “This will help me when applying for internships and graduate school.”

The curriculum in the School of Business is preparing Dunn to achieve career success. “As an accredited business school, Fredonia provides a high-quality business program that has students learn about various aspects of business such as marketing, management, finance and accounting,” Dunn said. Classes taken so far have given her a well-rounded perspective on business, which Dunn said will be very beneficial when she begins her career.

The scholarship will also help Ms. State, of Marion, N.Y., to continue her education at SUNY Fredonia. “I will have one more year to go and this scholarship has already relieved some of my stress about affording the upcoming year so that I can finish my degree,” she said.

State credits the “amazing and supportive faculty” in the School of Business for preparing her for a Public Accountancy career. “The professors really care about student success and go out of their way to assist students in preparing for the future,” she said. State has also had some amazing opportunities to begin networking with firms through personal connections and career expo opportunities, such as Meet the Professionals Night held in the fall.

Mr. Flett, of Eden, indicated the scholarship will also benefit him in two ways. “Not only will it help me financially, but I can also put it on my resume to show my academic achievements which may look good to future employers after graduation,” he said.

According to Flett, the resources and people in various capacities at SUNY Fredonia are helping him to prepare for the future. He cites the Career Development Office with helping him tailor his resume and LinkedIn profile. The number of connections students can make at SUNY Fredonia is tremendous, Flett said.

Simmons plans to work with the new School of Business dean to develop and implement a minor in Professional Selling. Moreover, he would like to expand the program to broader Liberal Arts majors. These students can use their verbal, writing and presentation skills to help both profit and non-profit organizations, Simmons said.

“Fredonia was the foundation for my business success,” Simmons remarked. “I have been very fortunate, career wise, for advice that others have provided me. It is my turn to provide insights and motivation for students to consider a lucrative career in professional selling,” he said.

“There is a ton of potential here,” Simmons said.