Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business has presented its annual Excellence Awards.
The awards recognize distinguished alumni, faculty and corporate partners for living the mission of service to the community and for their dedication to the John Cook School of Business and SLU through personal and professional activities.
The 2011 honorees are:
Distinguished Corporate Partner Award - Deloitte LLC
Deloitte, LLC has made a significant impact in the world of audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting. Headquartered in New York, Deloitte's St. Louis office has long been a friend to the Cook School. From hiring several interns each year - who typically become full-time employees - to sponsoring accounting scholarships and contributing the other funds and departments, Deloitte is a committed member of the SLU family. Current St. Louis managing partner Rodney Kinsinger and former managing partner Mike Zychinsky are Cook alumni.
Joseph L. Davis, S.J., Alumni Merit Award - Judy Murphy (B.S.B.A. '80)
As Partner-in-Charge of the Not-for-Profit Service Group and a partner in the Assurance Service Group at RubinBrown, Judy Murphy primarily serves not-for-profit clients and provides audit, tax and consulting services. Murphy's career began in July 1978 when she interned at RubinBrown while a SLU student. She became a full-time employee of the firm after earning her B.S.B.A. in 1980 - the same year she received the Gold Medal Award from the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accounts for the highest score on the Uniform CPA Exam. Active in many professional organizations, Murphy has also served the community through work with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri and the St. Louis Fire Department Lifesaving Foundation in addition to her involvement with a number of groups and projects at the business school.
Joseph E. Boland, S.J., Outstanding Alumni Award - Brett Rufkahr (B.S.B.A. '86, M.B.A. '92)
Brett Rufkahr, Senior Vice President, Market Executive at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, is responsible for U.S. Trust business in the St. Louis regional, managing a team of private client advisors and managers in the delivery of integrated wealth management services and advice to high net worth individuals and families. Since graduating from the Cook School, he has devoted countless hours to the school, serving on both the Dean's Executive Advisory Board and as president of the John Cook School of Business Alumni Board. In the community, Rufkahr is a member of the DeSmet Jesuit High School Board of Trustees, the CFA Institute and the Society of Financial Analysts.
Distinguished Young Alumni Award - Christopher Sommers (B.S.B.A. '98)
Christopher Sommers comes from a family of SLU alumni that includes his sister, brother, mother, father and grandfather. After graduation, he worked for Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) and Salesforce.com before returning to St. Louis in 2008 to open Pi Pizzeria in the Delmar Loop. Pi rose to the national spotlight after Sommers arranged to feed then presidential candidate Barack Obama's crew during a St. Louis campaign rally. He received a thank you call from Obama after the rally and in March 2009 was invited to Washington, D.C., to prepare his signature recipe for the President. Since its opening, Pi has expanded to multiple St. Louis locations and will soon open a Pi in the nation's capital. Sommers said SLU's Jesuit philosophy of forming "men and women for others" has heavily influenced his business approach, which includes his commitment to environmental responsibility, sponsoring charitable events and investing in the community.
Thomas M. Knapp, S.J., Distinguished Faculty Award - Scott Safranski, Ph.D.
Scott Safranski, Ph.D., joined the SLU faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor of management and international business. He is currently associate dean and professor of management at the Cook School. During his nearly three decades at the University, Safranski has been a department chair, directed multiple programs and been a member of search committees as well as serving as a faculty advisor and mentor for which he received the 1999 SLU Graduate Student Association Mentorship Award. In addition, he has been a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission since 1985 and performed accreditation visits at more than 50 schools. Away from the University, Safranski has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Sisters of St. Mary Rehab and Kirkwood United Methodist Church.
John Basler Outstanding Alumni Board Service Award - Cynthia Washington (B.S.B.A. '86, M.B.A. '93)
Currently a broker associate for Duffe Neurnberger Realty, Cynthia Washington earned her undergraduate degree in finance ('86) and MBA ('93) at the John Cook School of Business. Washington works primarily with Renaissance Development Associates, one of the pioneers of the rebirth of Mid Town Alley, just east of the SLU campus. A member of the Cook Alumni Board since 2004, Washington has played a key role in the planning and execution of events such as the Cook Cup Classic and the school's annual trivia night. She has also devoted her time to various St. Louis organizations, including Habitat for Humanity as an events committee member and Cor Jesus Academy where she serves on the Alumni Advisory Board.
The awards were presented at a special dinner event Saturday, May 14, in the Shanahan Atrium at SLU's John and Lucy Cook Hall.