College of Business Administration inducts alum into Hall of Fame, honors award winners

Students, alumni, faculty are recognized for achievements, contributions to CMU

| Author: CBAnews

Each year, the Central Michigan University College of Business Administration honors the best and the brightest alumni, faculty, staff and students for their individual accolades, how they serve those around them and their dedication to the university. 

From all-star students and inspiring faculty to alumni who have made impacts across the globe, this year’s Hall of Fame inductee and award winners put their educations and backgrounds to work in countless positive ways. They were honored during the college’s annual Hall of Fame and Awards Celebration April 18.

Hall of Fame Inductee

Enrico DiGirolamo '76, '15
Enrico DiGirolamo, '76, '15

Enrico DiGirolamo ’76, ’15

From Detroit to Switzerland, Enrico (Rico) DiGirolamo’s life and vast business career have taken him around the world. 

DiGirolamo is the lead independent director for the Board of Coherent, a $10 billion public company where he serves as chair of the ESG Committee and member of the Audit and STAR Committees.

For more than a decade, DiGirolamo has been a strong advocate and mentor for CMU. He has served since 2014 on the college’s Executive Roundtable Advisory Board and has been actively involved in teaching and mentoring students. He has taught the college’s capstone strategy course as an Executive-in-Residence participated in Dialogue Days and judged the New Venture Challenge. He delivered the university’s commencement address in 2015, where he earned an honorary doctorate.

DiGirolamo, who resides in Novi, Michigan with his wife Kathleen, is known for his ‘Rico-isms,’ of which one of his most popular is: “It’s good to have the answer to the question, but it’s better to have the answer to the right question.” 

Alumni Awards

The CBA alumni awards honor graduates who have distinguished themselves in their business pursuits, given back to their communities and led by example. Meet this year’s winners:

Outstanding Young Alumni Award 

Chelsea Hurst '12
Chelsea Hurst '12

Chelsea Hurst ’12

From her time as a student, Chelsea Hurst was already giving back to CMU. While earning her information systems degree, she also served as an SAP Teaching Assistant. In her current role with Dow, she leads recruiting efforts, guiding students throughout their early career paths. She is also a passionate supporter of women in STEM, and is involved in numerous organizations both on and off campus.

“Chelsea not only leads recruiting at CMU, but she’s also been involved in many other activities,” said Steve Tracy, director of SAP University Alliance and an information systems faculty member. “She’s just been an incredible supporter of CMU and we couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Alumni Commitment Award

Erin Gendron '06 and Stephen Wakeling '03
Erin Gendron '06 (left), and Stephen Wakeling '03 (right)

Erin Gendron ’06 and Stephen Wakeling '03

In addition to putting the skills they learned at CMU to use in start-ups and their own companies, Stephen Wakeling and Erin Gendron have given back on campus, too. They started the Wakeling Gendron Entrepreneurial Scholars program this academic year which has served students with mentorship, professional skills, friendships and more.

“Stephen and Erin get deeply involved,” said Julie Messing, director of the Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurship faculty member. “They’re spending time with the students. They’re mentoring and coaching. They’re introducing the students to a plethora of resources that will help them regardless of the path they choose in life.” 

Distinguished Alumni Award

Kristie Nystedt '90
Kristie Nystedt '90

Kristie Nystedt ’90

Kristie Nystedt’s catchphrase, ‘make it happen,’ reflects her life and career trajectory. After earning her accounting degree and working in a variety of finance and accounting roles, she ‘hopped’ to the craft brew industry, becoming president of Raleigh Brewing Company and the first woman to own a brewery in North Carolina.

In addition to the brewery, she also established a full-service brewery equipment and parts supplier, and, most recently, a piping and production fabrication company. She is also dedicated to giving back to CMU through supporting the New Venture Challenge and mentoring student organizations. 

Student awards

The student awards recognize current students who are committed to their studies and are on paths to excel in their future professional endeavors. Lexi Martens was named student of the year and the following students received an Outstanding Student Award:

  • Maddison Carlock
  • Mikayla Krick
  • Emma Jozy Allen
  • Nick Bale
  • Alexandra Ghannam
  • Coy Lakatos
  • Malcom Vinson
  • Madison Newton
  • Alex Varady

2024 faculty awards

Faculty awards are given to CBA faculty who go above and beyond in their teaching, mentorship and research, and in their commitment to the university. This year’s faculty award winners:

AT&T Innovation & Excellence in Teaching Awards

  • Nick Hussein — Marketing, logistics and hospitality
  • Sebastien Vendette — Management

Rogers MBA Teaching Award

  • John Diltz — Finance and law

Hazleton Graduate Teaching Award

  • Vigdis Boasson — Finance and law 

Hazleton Graduate Teaching Award

  • Steven Harrast — Philip L. Kintzele School of Accounting

Research Excellence Award

  • K.C. Lin — Philip L. Kintzele School of Accounting

Social Impact Award

  • Jerry Dimaria — Business Information Systems

CBA Staff Excellence Award 

  • Danielle Mason — Entrepreneurship Department

Bob Cook Service Award

  • Amy McGinnis — Management

Dean’s Special Recognition Awards

  • Kurt Baringer — Dean’s Office
  • Cindy Howard — Dean’s Office 
  • Sarah Ransom — Dean’s Office
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