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Chaifetz School of Business Honors Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Community Partners

The Saint Louis University Chaifetz School of Business is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Excellence Awards. Raising the bar each year, these excellence awards are a representation of the many achievements and outstanding performances of students, organizations, faculty and staff at the Chaifetz School.

The achievements are in part because the Chaifetz School's talented faculty and staff are fortunate to work with incredible students, leaders say, but also because of the school's strategic approach to provide a career-focused, experiential business education. The 2019 Excellence Awards celebrated the many achievements and outstanding performances of Chaifetz School of Business students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners.

98% of last year’s graduates of the Chaifetz School were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Left to Right, Mark Higgins, Robert Start (junior), Zachary Vernum (senior), Chet Gillis (Provost) and Eric Brunngraber (CEO of Cass Information Systems, Inc.)

Left to Right, Mark Higgins, Robert Stark (junior), Zachary Vernum (senior), Chet Gillis (SLU interim provost) and Eric Brunngraber (CEO of Cass Information Systems, Inc.)

"This academic year, the Chaifetz School awarded more than $325,000 in externally funded scholarships to hardworking students," said Mark Higgins, Edward Jones Dean of the Chaifetz School of Business. "These scholarships are made possible thanks to the generosity of Chaifetz School alumni, friends, corporations and community partners." 

See all the Honorees

Community Partner

This year's awards honored Cass Information Systems as a community partner. Founded as a neighborhood bank in St. Louis in 1906, Cass Information Systems now ranks as a leading global provider of integrated information and payment management solutions, disbursing over $60 billion annually on behalf of its clients.

The company has had five CEOs in its 112-year history. The last three CEOs have all been graduates of Saint Louis University.

Mark Higgins (Edward Jones Dean of the Chaifetz School of Business)and Eric Brunngraber (CEO of Cass Information Systems, Inc.).

From left to right: Mark Higgins (Edward Jones Dean of the Chaifetz School of Business), Eric Brunngraber (CEO of Cass Information Systems, Inc.) and Chet Gillis (SLU Provost).

Recognizing the value of the Chaifetz School’s Service Leadership program and its congruence with Cass’s philosophy for doing business, in 2018 Cass committed to a $100,000 gift over five years to support the program.

The gift will allow the Service Leadership program to expand weekly group service opportunities by providing transportation resources. It will also underwrite the program’s Service Day for as many as 125 volunteers each year, support weekly Service Leadership meetings and provide three student service leadership scholarships annually.

Cass Information Systems Scholar

Three Chaifetz Business students were named Cass Information System Scholars at the ceremony, including junior Robert Stark.

Stark was co-chair of this year's Service Day and serves as the president of the Campus Kitchens Project at SLU, a student-run volunteer organization that helps serve as a link between businesses by reducing food waste through turning donations into healthy meals for their clients. 

"I am excited to begin my final year here at SLU next year in the integrated accounting program, which will allow me to complete my fourth year by graduating with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting," Stark said. "I will also continue to serve as a member of the leadership team for Campus Kitchens and will be completing my Service Leadership minor through the Service Leadership Program."


The Chaifetz School awarded Laura Brugger the Patricia Galati Staff Service Award. This award recognizes colleagues who demonstrate professionalism and behavior congruent with the University's Ignatian ideals and Cura Standards, including accomplishments of those who further the mission of Saint Louis University.

Among other numerous ways in which Brugger serves, she is a mentor for SLU's Vocational Inquiry Through Advocacy and Service (VITAS ) program and co-teacher for a Belize student immersion trip.

"One of my favorite parts about working at SLU is the importance placed on social justice and the numerous opportunities to engage in organized days of service, student mentoring programs and student immersion trips, or just through daily interactions with our students," Brugger said.

Student Organization

SLU Entrepreneurs' Club won this year's Outstanding Student Organization. Its mission is to introduce, engage and inspire student entrepreneurs to create a better world.

“I’m proud the business school clubs and organizations for everything they’ve accomplished this year," said Rob Boyle, assistant dean at the Chaifetz School of Business. "A very special congratulations to the SLU Entrepreneur’s Club for receiving the Outstanding Student Organization Award. A well-deserved honor.” 

The SLU Entrepreneurs' Club partners with the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship at the Chaifetz School of Business several times each year to host events, including Billicon Valley, which connects SLU students with start-up businesses in the St. Louis region.

"Receiving this award is an honor for our club and encourages us to continue our momentum of growth and innovation," said Natalie Bell, president of SLU's Entrepreneur's Club.