On April 4, hundreds gathered to celebrate and recognize honors students of the Belk College of Business – and also their longtime leader, Professor Ted Amato. Amato has served as the Business Honors Program director since 2008 and led the Belk Scholars Program since its inception in 2014.
The reception in the Friday Building recognized the contributions of Amato to both honors programs.
Provost Joan Lorden opened the reception, thanking Amato for his contributions to UNC Charlotte and the Belk College of Business.
“These honors programs are excellent examples of UNC Charlotte’s impressive path of growth and innovation. Over recent decades, we’ve rapidly expanded enrollments, faculty and programs, while remaining true to Bonnie Cone’s vision — that UNC Charlotte will be a place of access and opportunity for every deserving student,” she said.
Dean Steve Ott of the Belk College thanked Amato for his leadership of the programs.
“Under your dedicated leadership, the Business Honors Program has matured and expanded to engage over 130 Belk College undergraduate students each year in a challenging academic program, professional activities, and community service. Your support for honors education has greatly impacted our students, the college and the campus. Since launching the Belk Scholars Program, you have guided the program’s development, stimulated interest in the program, and recruited truly exceptional students,” Ott said.
Amato is concluding his leadership of these programs at the end of the academic year and will continue to teach and conduct research in the Belk College.
“To the alumni and students, it has been my honor to serve as director of these programs. I have a deep sense of gratitude; I am the one who feels thankful,” Amato said.
Associate Dean Pat Mynatt presented Amato with a gift and a message of thanks.
“[Dr. Amato], you have built strong and impactful programs, and you have inspired individual students and those of us who have the pleasure of working alongside you,” she said.
During the reception, Business Honors Program past president and alumna Katie Sholtis also shared her reflections of the program and Amato’s leadership. Sholtis, who graduated in 2017 with majors in Accounting and Finance and completed her Master of Accountancy degree in 2018, works at Deloitte in Charlotte.
“Integrity was held in the highest regard from the moment I interviewed to be part of the Business Honors Program. Dr. Amato’s dedication to integrity has always stuck with me, even beyond graduation. Integrity was always the underlying message for BHP and for Dr. Amato, and his legacy will live on,” she said.
Jeremiah Parham, who is studying international business and pre-medicine, is a current member of the Business Honors Program. In his remarks, he said Amato’s dedication to students made a real impression on him.
“Over the past couple semesters I have gotten to know Dr. Amato as a professor who goes above and beyond. When approached with a question, he will not only answer it with his best ability, but also tie it in with some personal experience, and end the answer with a punchline. He loves to share his knowledge with anyone willing to hear it. You can literally see it in his eyes when he is teaching,” he said.
John Bushe, who is pursuing a business analytics major within the Belk Scholars Program, said the deciding moment for him to join the program was visiting UNC Charlotte and meeting Amato in person.
“From the start, Dr. Amato demonstrated how much he cares about his students and the mission of the Belk Scholars program. I remember emailing him as a prospective student with a question and he responded to me that very same day even as he was getting off a plane to attend a conference. I couldn’t believe he had responded to me so quickly even as he was in the midst of traveling out of town for work. That made a big impression on me. His kindness, intellect, and respect shine through,” Bushe said in his remarks.
The Business Honors Program is a challenging plan of study for motivated students with excellent academic performance. These students can participate in stimulating coursework, leadership activities, team-building exercises and community service projects designed to enhance marketability after graduation. This program began in 1993.
The Belk Scholars Program in business analytics is a fast-track curriculum that enables graduates to pursue lucrative, high-demand careers in business analytics. Part of the University's Data Science Initiative, this program allows high-achieving students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree and master's degree in five years. Thanks to the support of Belk, Inc., the Belk family and many friends and donors, the Belk Scholars Program is now in its fourth year. The first class are currently seniors and enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate coursework.
Both programs are supported by the Niblock Student Center, named after alumnus Robert Niblock.