While the final semesters for the class of 2020 have been unconventional, the Belk College of Business is celebrating the spirit of community, and the support and pride faculty, staff and alumni have in the accomplishments of students graduating this year.
On Jan. 8, UNC Charlotte will honor all 2020 graduates (May, August and December) with a virtual celebration. The ceremony will include traditional elements such as the ringing of the bell, singing of the Alma Mater and turning of the tassel. After the ceremony premieres,
graduates will have an opportunity to hear a message from Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer and hear their name announced on the Commencement website.
“Despite all they have had to overcome due to the pandemic, our graduates have successfully prevailed to earn their degrees,” Troyer says. “We’re proud of their accomplishments and know it has not been easy. To help them on the road ahead, we are offering several new support programs.”
The Belk College will celebrate the Class of 2020 and welcome 1,551 new graduates to a network of nearly 34,000 alumni through video messages, e-communications and social media posts. Alumni-owned small businesses also are helping graduates, their family and friends celebrate with special Business Niner Class of 2020 items such as a yard sign and balloon designs.
To assist the class of 2020 as they transition to their next step, the Belk College Alumni Council will partner with the College’s graduate programs and Niblock Student Center teams to offer “I’ve Been in Your Shoes: Alumni Wisdom for the 2021 Job Search,” a virtual professional development program on Feb. 1. The program will offer resume tips and facilitate connections with Belk College’s alumni network.
Belk College Class of 2020 by the numbers:
- May: 673 undergraduate degrees, 145 graduate degrees
- August: 152 undergraduate degrees, 70 graduate degrees
- December: 410 undergraduate degrees, 101 graduate degrees
Belk College December graduates include:
Khabiyrul Gainey, a military veteran who is earning two graduate degrees: Master of Accountancy and DSBA. He adds these degrees to the double-major he earned in 2019 from the Belk College. Gainey, a recipient of the Reynolds Veterans Scholarship, transferred to UNC Charlotte after earning an associate degree from Central Piedmont Community College. Gainey also completed internships with three of the Big Four accounting firms.
Ravi Sharma, who is earning his MBA. He moved from a sales role with a national brand to a lead market strategy analyst with Duke Energy during his time at the Belk College. “It has been impressive to see how resilient students and faculty have been in adapting during a challenging and uncertain year,” Sharma says. “I'm hopeful that we can build on what we've learned this year for a better future.”
Taylor Ferguson, part of the Business Honors Program and a Belk Scholar, she is earning a degree in business analytics. She will continue her education at UNC Charlotte in January, pursuing a Master of Science in Data Science and Business Analytic. “The Business Honors Program continued to impress me despite the onset of the pandemic during my senior year,” Ferguson says. “Even up to our final virtual senior celebration, the faculty, staff, and administrators involved in the program have put forth their absolute best effort to make my final semester memorable."
Shannon McKean, a Business Honors Program (BHP) student who is earning a degree in marketing and a minor in American studies. During her time at UNC Charlotte, she completed two internships and also a semester study abroad opportunity earlier this year through the American International University in London. “I would not have done anything differently or trade my experience. I am grateful I had the opportunity to immerse myself in new cultures, take business courses in another country, and grow personally. My study abroad experience will always be one I cherish.”
Shanna Rizzo, who is earning degrees in finance and accounting. Rizzo completed an internship at MedAssist as a student and plans to complete a tax internship during the spring and another in the summer. She will continue her education at the Belk College in the Master of Accountancy program starting in fall 2021. “I am so impressed by my fellow Niners and our faculty for what we have accomplished this year,” Rizzo says “Despite troubling times, we have even managed to flourish. Graduating brings me one step closer to my goals and making my parents proud.”
Brandon Robertson, who is earning degrees in accounting and finance. Robertson is completing an internship with Duke Energy in project accounting and is president of the UNC Charlotte disc golf club. As a freshman, he participated in the Business Learning Community.