Beta Alpha Psi luncheon ushers in new era for VCU Business
On May 6, the VCU Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP)—the premier international honor and service organization for accounting students—welcomed students, faculty and industry partners to the Jefferson Hotel for its biannual chapter luncheon. The event, sponsored by Altria and Keiter, was a changing of the guard in more ways than one, as the chapter welcomed new student leadership, a new faculty advisor, and the new dean of the VCU School of Business.
Hosted once a semester, the BAP luncheon gives student members an opportunity to network and connect in-person with both VCU alumni and Richmond businesses. “We’re living in the digital age, and our students need to understand the importance of human connections in accounting,” says Jon Hill, accounting professor and BAP faculty advisor. “The event is a networking opportunity for our students; a lot of VCU graduates come to the luncheon to reconnect with former colleagues, old friends and to meet new friends. Richmond is a close knit professional community.”
Hill is retiring from VCU this spring after more than 20 years at the university. He joined the VCU School of Business Accounting Department as a professor in 2010 and has served as the BAP faculty advisor since 2013.
“When I first started in accounting, there were set career steps to follow,” says Hill. “You climbed that ladder, and that was it. It’s not that way anymore. Our industry is discovering new ways to be accountants. There are so many great people at VCU, and they are focused on helping students succeed in this new world of accounting. My hope for Beta Alpha Psi going forward is that they continue to host these types of events, but continue to build on them, as well.”
Lindsey Andiola, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, will step in as BAP advisor following the spring semester. In her role, Andiola will provide guidance to the students as they organize general body meetings, leadership workshops, diversity workshops, service events and more.
“I’m looking forward to connecting with our students,” says Andiola. “I teach our seniors, so I’m the last person they tend to meet before they head out the doors at VCU. Getting involved in Beta Alpha Psi allows me to meet them much earlier and get them thinking about internships or workshops. I’m really looking forward to that additional role outside of teaching in the classroom.”
Beta Alpha Psi student president Kelsey Watlington joined the honors organization during the pandemic, helping to rebuild membership and bring back in-person events like the luncheon.
“Networking all comes down to practice,” says Watlington, a senior accounting and data analytics major. “It’s so important for our students to practice getting out there, meeting people, and building relationships with their connections. Many of our professional partners and alumni who come to the luncheon are looking for students to hire or mentor. It’s really an amazing event that builds our VCU community into something great.”
Following her graduation from VCU this month, Watlington will join Deloitte in Richmond as an audit and assurance assistant. Jeffrey Kum, a rising senior accounting and information systems major, will take on the role as BAP president for 2022-2023.
The BAP luncheon welcomed incoming dean Naomi Boyd, Ph.D. as the keynote speaker—her first major event since joining the VCU School of Business. Boyd currently serves as associate dean for innovation, outreach and engagement and as chair, professor and the Fred T. Tattersall Chair of Finance in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics Department of Finance at West Virginia University.
“The BAP luncheon is the perfect event to kick things off at VCU, especially given my strong commitment to integrating students, alumni and industry partners,” says Boyd. “Beta Alpha Psi is an incredible organization that truly brings together and benefits all of those groups.”
In her keynote address, Boyd spoke of the power of positive transformation, both in regards to the pandemic as well as in one’s career.
“We have so much possibility, so much hope. Moving out of this global pandemic, what everyone in this room has lived through is truly transformational. It will change and transform the face of business education. It will change your perspective. It will change your career path. Let it change it all for the better, and let us step into the future positive, reassured and hopeful.”
Eager to join VCU and the Richmond community, Boyd shared her gratitude for the faculty, staff, students, alumni and industry partners who have already reached out in support during the transition. She will officially join the School of Business July 1.
“I feel overwhelmed by the warm welcome I’ve received from this community,” says Boyd. “We can’t build a great business school alone, we need to build it together. Knowing that I come in with these incredible people who are ready to launch is pretty meaningful.”
For more information about the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Beta Alpha Psi and to get involved, visit the organization’s website.