You think YOU have talent…watch this!

One thing we really value in our faculty is versatility – the ability to excel at many things.  Prof. Frank Farina, in his second year in our department, is a veritable renaissance man:  An attorney and C.P.A., Prof. Farina is also an accomplished tuba player.  A former member of the Washington Redskins Marching Band, Frank is a key part of the SMC Jazz Ensemble.  As if that wasn’t enough, over the past semester Frank has been enrolled in Prof. Cathy Hurst’s TH 213 course (Singing for the Actor).  Frank and several classmates recently performed on campus – here it is:


“The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” – in BU 461 Business Strategy

Prof Karen Popovich’s senior capstone course (BU 461 Business Strategy) listened intently, on the last day of class, to the YouTube presentation of “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” by Randy Pausch.  Dr.  Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Melon University and self-proclaimed “geek”, was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer in 2007 and given less than six months to live.  His final lecture was posted on YouTube and has been viewed by over six million people online.  As Pausch explained, “the lecture really was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful. But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”  His friend, Jeffrey Zaslow says “He talked about the importance of childhood dreams, and the fortitude needed to overcome setbacks. (“Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.”).  Pausch encouraged his audience to be patient with others (“Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.”).  Finally, to show the crowd that he wasn’t ready to climb into his deathbed, Pausch dropped to the floor and did push-ups.

Business major Cory McGrath ’11 stated: “this was the perfect ending to a great class – parts of the lecture gave me chills.”

As you are getting ready to graduate from high school – this is also a great video for you consider achieving your dreams.

Starting and running your own business – part of our first course in the Business Major


A key part of our first course in the Business Major – BU 113 Critical Thinking & Communication – is a group assignment to start a small  business.   Each team selects a product or service which it will try to market on campus.  As part of this assignment, the teams have to prepare and present a comprehensive business plan, including  management, marketing, and financial plans.  At the end of the semester, each team presents a report to shareholders, analyzing the performance of the business  and its impact on a range of stakeholders (customers, investors, the company, and society).  Each company also issues stock to investors ($.25 /share), with the class representing the investment community.  Shares are bought and sold within the class, with prices rising or falling depending on the performance of each business. 

In the Spring 2011 semester, BU 113 was jointly taught by Profs. Joanne Scott, Christine Bauer-Ramazani, and France Nelson.  One of the businesses in the class, T.E.A.M. Towels (Tom Fergus Mick Roberto Alex Remy Edouard Garneau) posted a promotional video on YouTube as part of their marketing strategy.  Who knows – the next Google?



Eileen O’Rourke ’83

Eileen O’Rourke ’83 is the Director of Human Resources for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.  She started the HR department for the Diocese in late 2007.  Previously, she was the Vice President of Human Resources for Bombardier Capital, in Colchester, VT.

Sean Crowley ’97

Sean Crowley ’97 went on to earn his MBA from Clarkson University after graduating from SMC.  He then worked as a financial analyst in two different firms on Long Island, NY.  In 2005, Sean joined the Internal Revenue Service as a Revenue Agent in the Small Business/Self Employed Division, based in Manhattan.  After a few years in that role, he was promoted to the Large Business and International Division.  Sean has also taken and passed all four parts of the CPA exam, and reports that he is just waiting for the paperwork to go through for the license.  In late 2010, Sean,  received the CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) designation.  He reports that his job at the IRS “is great –  no two days are ever the same, nor are the businesses and tax returns!”

Sean is also proud to report that he lives on Long Island with his wife, Natalie (who he met while at Clarkson) and his 4 year old daughter, Brenna.

Brendan Clark ’09/Morgan Stanley

Brendan Clark ’09 is an Associate at Morgan Stanley in New York City.  He began his association with the firm when he interned within their Financial Control Group during the summer of 2008.  Brendan says that the experience “was fantastic” and led to his landing a full-time position in July 2009.  Working in the firm’s Control space, his area of specialization is Brokerage and Clearing for Listed Derivatives. As of January 2011, he was promoted to Associate and reports that he is enjoying the responsibility and leadership his new role demands.

Brendan is also a co-winner of the 2009 Enterprise Plan Competition (

Mike Byrnes, Jr. ’92/Byrnes Consulting, LLC

Michael W. Byrnes, Jr. ’92 is President of Byrnes Consulting, LLC of Boston MAAfter graduating from St. Mike’s, Mike began his career in the financial services industry.  While working full time, he earned his MBA from Boston College in 2000.  Since founding Byrnes Consulting in 2008, Mike has worked with organizations on a range of issues including business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness.  He has published over sixty articles in a number of outlets, and has appeared extensively on various business-related media.  Over the past few years, Mike has become recognized as a leading expert on the topic of social media.  Learn more about Mike and his firm at

Matt Benedetto awarded $40,000 entrepreneurship scholarship

Matt Benedetto ’12 was awarded a $40,000 entrepreneur scholarship from the McKelvey Foundation.  The foundation was was started by Andy McKelvey, founder of the job site  The scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who show entrepreneurial spirit and drive while owning a business in high school. Matt has been operating his own snowboard/ski-wear business since his high school days, and continued it when he arrived on campus. 

As part of the award process, Matt and the other  scholarship winners were flown to St. Louis for 4 days of seminars and networking. The event allowed Matt and other young business leaders to and see what other student-entrepreneur business were being run and to sit in on a series of how-to seminars offered by a number of experienced small business owners and executives. 

Find out more about the foundation and the scholarship and let us know what you think.


Tom Hughes speaks to students about fraud prevention

On March 23, 2011, Tom Hughes came to speak to Robert Letovsky’s Ethical Issues in Business class.  Tom is a Burlington-resident who has served time in both federal and state prisons for a series of frauds he perpetrated over several years working as a bookkeeper/controller at several businesses.  Since his release in 2007, Tom has become a speaker and consultant on financial security isssues.  Earlier this year, he served on a special advisory panel convened by the State of Vermont’s Auditor General.  This was Tom’s fifth presentation to Saint Michael’s students.  Each time, he has spoken powerfully about the choices he made, the impact these choices had on his family, friends and employers, and how he has attempted to make amends.  Tom’s powerful story of personal turnaround was, as in all his previous visits to campus, tremendously impactful on the students.  Following his presentation, the class – composed of 27 Accounting and Business majors – engaged in a lively q&a with him.