75th Anniversary

Driven and Kind

Emeka Okafor receives his diploma from former School of Business Dean Curt Hunter during Commencement ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion in May 2004. (Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos)
Emeka Okafor receives his diploma from former School of Business Dean Curt Hunter during Commencement ceremonies at Gampel Pavilion in May 2004. (Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos)

A Dozen Years After Graduation, Basketball Star/Finance Major Emeka Okafor Still a Favorite at UConn

Some of the members of the 2004 National Championship UConn Men’s Basketball Team would wear a weight vest in practice to improve their endurance as they ran up the bleachers in the old Memorial Stadium.

Not Emeka Okafor ’04. Continue Reading

A ‘No Phony Gimmicks’ Guy

Bob Kaufman ’74, founder of Bob’s Discount Furniture (Bob’s Discount Furniture)

Alumnus Bob Kaufman, Founder of Bob’s Discount Furniture: ‘I Believe Everyone Should Work for Themselves!’

One of the biggest decisions that anyone will make in life is whether to work for themselves—or work for someone else, said UConn business school alumnus Bob Kaufman ’74, founder and president emeritus of Bob’s Discount Furniture.

“I believe that everyone should work for themselves,” said the man who created the rapidly-growing, 73-store furniture giant, and who, thanks to his prolific advertising, is arguably one of the most recognized people on television.

“Being an entrepreneur is Continue Reading

‘Treat People Right Throughout Your Life’

Bill Simon '81, '88 MBA, former Walmart CEO, at the UConn School of Business Stamford campus. (Nathan Oldham/UConn School of Business)
Bill Simon ’81, ’88 MBA, former Walmart CEO, at the UConn School of Business Stamford campus. (Nathan Oldham/UConn School of Business)

‘Treat People Right Throughout Your Life’ Says Former Walmart CEO Bill Simon ’81, ’88 MBA

A store manager had been abruptly fired in a small North Carolina town and Walmart president and CEO Bill Simon‘s phone was ringing off the hook.

Customers were irate, store associates were upset, and even the town’s mayor called to lodge a complaint.

“Our store manager had chased a shoplifter into the parking lot, tackled him and brought him back into the store,” recalled Simon, who earned both his bachelor’s degree and MBA from UConn. “Our policy was that we don’t chase shoplifters because of the risk of someone getting hurt, and he had clearly violated the policy.Continue Reading

Mo Hussein: The Story of a Beloved Professor

Mo Hussein (Nathan Oldham/UConn School of Business)
Mo Hussein (Nathan Oldham/UConn School of Business)

One of the first things people notice about Accounting Professor Mo Hussein is his warm personality. The second, is that he enjoys a little mischief.

“I once told students that my grandfather was a witch doctor,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “And some of them believed it!”

Hussein has spent his 38-year career at UConn, where he has taught thousands of students and helped to build the accounting department’s reputation as among the best in the nation. He also served as accounting department head from 1989-90 and from 2003-15, and as interim dean of the School of Business from 2006-07. Continue Reading

The Gift of Persuasion

UConn Professor and President Emeritus Philip Austin Says Uniting People Is Vital Skill for Young Business Leaders

University of Connecticut Professor and President Emeritus Philip E. Austin was reluctant to ask the governor and the state legislature for additional money after the state had generously given UConn some $1 billion for improvements.

But six years after the highly successful passage of UConn 2000—in which the state invested in the University’s facilities, faculty and growth—it became clear to Austin that another, large capital investment would take the school across the finish line.Continue Reading

‘Unplanned, Unexpected, Full of Surprise’

Business Law Professor Carrafiello’s 51-Year Career

Teaching business law at the UConn School of Business for 51 years, turned out to be a delightful surprise for beloved Professor Vincent Carrafiello.

“I passed my state bar exam in August 1965, and started teaching at UConn in September,” he said. “If you told me then that I’d be spending the rest of my professional life at the University of Connecticut, I would have told you that you were crazy, and certifiably so!Continue Reading

‘Where You Go In Life Is Up To You’

During his extensive career with GE, Denis Nayden ’76, ’77 MBA (second from right) frequently came to speak on campus, often flying in on the company’s helicopter. With Denis are the School’s former director of MBA career services, Pat Mochel (far left) and Dick Kochanek, former associate dean and accounting professor (far right). (UConn School of Business)

Finance Chief, Philanthropist, Innovator Denis J. Nayden is a Husky Through-and-Through

A year after Denis J. Nayden ’76, ’77 MBA, graduated from UConn, he was visiting his parents in the Annapolis, Md.,-area, and attended a function at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“My father introduced me to the commandant and said, ‘This is my son, Denis, and he just graduated from UConn,'” Nayden recalled. Apparently, the commandant was only familiar with the other Yukon.

“Congratulations, son!,” the commadant replied. “I didn’t know Alaska had a university.”Continue Reading

‘We Can Do That!’

Ronald Patten, Robert Steele, and Wallace Barnes 1977 (UConn School of Business)
From L to R: Former School of Business Dean Ronald Patten; Robert H. Steele, United States Representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Connecticut 1970-1975; and Wallace Barnes, retired Chairman and CEO of The Barnes Group, at the Beta Gamma Sigma – Alpha of Connecticut Chapter induction on May 1, 1977 (UConn School of Business)

School of Business Dean Ronald Patten Used Faculty’s Competitive Spirit to Advance Research, Ph.D. Program

Ronald Patten, the third dean of the UConn School of Business, was a bright, fair, likeable and hard-working leader, whose knowledge of business was surpassed only by his charm, and an enviable talent for coaxing the best out of people.

Meanwhile, the faculty who served during his tenure, from 1974 to 1988, were also exceptionally intelligent and enthusiastic. But the trait that most defined the professors and department heads was an unyielding competitive streak.Continue Reading

Award-winning Professor Dick Kochanek’s Accounting Class Came with a Bonus: Great Advice for Living Life

“If the person next to you in class leans over and whispers, ‘I love you,’ you have to say: ‘Not until after class. I have to focus on Kochanek’s lecture now!'”

That’s one of the many witty remarks that Professor Richard “Dick” Kochanek has used to engage the 250 underclassmen in his “Principles of Financial Accounting” class.

Kochanek, who retired at the end of fall semester, is one of the most beloved and highly regarded professors at UConn. He has extremely high ratings from his students and is widely credited with turning their curiosity about accounting into a life-long career.Continue Reading

Dan Toscano ’87

School of Business Alumnus Chairs UConn Foundation Board; ‘Let’s Be the Best… That’s What it Means to Come to UConn’

When alumnus Dan Toscano ’87 talks about the need for more scholarships to help UConn students, he speaks from the heart.

“I had some very discouraging moments when I was a student here and the tuition was due and I didn’t quite have it pulled together yet,” he recalled during a recent interview. “My wife, Tresa, and I had to fight to get through college financially. I remember those days vividly. I don’t want to see anyone else go through that.”Continue Reading