This month I am pleased to announce the release of the 2021 Dean’s Annual Report that celebrates the year that was. It highlights many of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends, with particular attention to the ways they have made the business school a better place. They have contributed time and treasure to launch new programs, to create new companies, and to make life better for others. I have been privileged to know and work with so many of these inspiring individuals whose words and accomplishments adorn these pages.
Even since its publication, I am mindful of how much more there is to celebrate. On Dec. 9, we are holding a conference in Stamford on Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs). These funding mechanisms are attracting attention and accumulating massive amounts of wealth. As we contemplate these innovative activities, I am struck by how many of our alumni are engaged in bringing these capital transactions to market. Convening important conversations like this is one of the ways we contribute to the intellectual lives of our community and the vibrant ecosystems that thrive around great academic institutions. Please join us on Dec. 9 if your schedule permits for the UConn SPAC Conference.
As we look ahead, we are hopeful that the pandemic is loosening its grip. The Fall 2021 semester has been remarkably normal. Yes, students and faculty wear masks indoors, but both vaccination- and mask-policy compliance have been remarkable, and the infection rates have been modest. We are planning for in-person graduations, and are scheduling our first face-to-face Hall of Fame Celebration in two years on April 22, 2022. Please join us if your schedule permits.
The Annual Report celebrates two outstanding presentations in Hartford by alumna Mary Laschinger ’92 EMBA and alumnus George Barrios ’87, ’89 MBA but went to press too soon to also celebrate the recent Rosenberg-McVay Lecture by Vice Admiral Sandra Stosz, a retired commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. These distinguished alumni, and so many others, engage with our students, serving as mentors, guest speakers, executives in residence and more.
Students are beginning to resume various competitions while both national and international travel events are being planned. Our Business Connections Learning Community (BCLC) began annual international trips a decade ago in Paris and, after a two-year hiatus, is contemplating an immersion experience in Berlin in 2022.
The subject of the Annual Report’s cover story, the new student venture fund called Hillside Ventures, is up and running, with one investment completed and two under serious review. Hundreds of companies were screened to find these opportunities, which typically involve co-investing with other funds.
I hope you enjoy the Annual Report as much as we enjoy sharing it with you.