Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Accounting students, alumni convene for 27th annual banquet

Published on May 10, 2023

Accounting students, alumni convene for 27th annual banquet

speaker at banquet

The keynote address was delivered by Christopher Gardella ’15, senior manager for state and local taxes at KPMG.

More than 150 administrators, alumni, faculty, students and friends of the Accounting Program at Eastern Connecticut State University attended the 27th Annual Accounting Banquet on April 19. Among the group were more than 80 alumni.  

Keynote speaker Christopher Gardella ’15, CPA, senior manager for state and local taxes at KPMG, spoke about young accountants finding their “happiness” in the field. Success for one person might be to pursue a partner status at a Big 4 accounting firm, while another young CPA might pursue a chief financial officer role at a corporation or mid-size company, he pointed out. Happiness comes in many different shapes and sizes, he said.  

accounting banquet attendees

At the accounting banquet, from left, Bill Sisco, emeritus faculty in accounting, Professor Mohd RuJoub and Eastern President Elsa Núñez

“The 27th annual Accounting Banquet was incredible and very successful,” said accounting Professor Mohd RuJoub. “I want to thank our awesome guest speaker, Christopher Gardella, as well a students, administrators and staff, alumni and other guests who attended the banquet for making our banquet so special and a huge success. It was a great way for all of us to come together in support of each other. Also, I would like to thank President Elsa Núñez and Provost William Salka for their kind and inspiring welcoming remarks and for contributing to the tremendous success of the 27th annual Accounting Banquet.”

“It is the personal and professional connections made or celebrated in this room tonight that make this an amazing group,” said President Núñez. “We have alumni providing internship opportunities.  We have alumni and other supporters helping our accounting students pay for their education through a dozen scholarships this evening.”  

Provost Salka noted that the partnership with alumni and other industry leaderships in the accounting field  benefits Eastern students in two ways. First, they provide internship opportunities and mentorship for students. "Second, they are able to advise our faculty on the skills and content our graduates will need to be successful in this field," he said.

It was a memorable evening, and I am looking forward to future Accounting Banquets,” said Amy Hyde ’24, accounting student and scholarship recipient. “The Eastern accounting faculty showed their passion for the major at the Accounting Banquet, where a mix of faculty, alumni and current students gathered to network and listen to Gardella's engaging keynote. Alumni expressed their appreciation for the meaningful relationships they formed with their professors during their time at Eastern, she said.

provost speaks
Provost William Salka speaks at the banquet.

Several outstanding accounting students in the discipline received scholarships from accounting firms and friends of the program. Katherine Patnaude ’10, CPA, a partner at PKF O’Connor Davies, presented the company’s annual scholarship to Elijah Johnson ’25. Amber Tucker ’04, CPA, a partner at Fiondella, Milone and LaSarcina, presented her firm’s scholarship to Daniel Slayton ’24. Jonathan Blejewski ’17, senior at CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), presented its annual scholarship to Tatiana Rodrigues ’25. 

Fredrick Hughes ’87, a former partner at CLA, presented the Frederick ’87 and Virginia ’87 Hughes Endowed Scholarship to two students: Monn Pierre ’24 and Hale Foothorap ’24.  This was the first year this scholarship was awarded from the fund, which was newly endowed in 2022. 

Professor Rujoub closed the scholarship presentations by awarding the Rujoub Family Endowed Scholarship to three students: Amy Hyde ’24, Patrick Lynch ’23 and Alejandra Martinez-Soto ’24.

Rujoub also noted that the Founders of Accounting Endowed Scholarship that emeritus Professor William Sisco has donated to on a regular basis will be presented to accounting major Anabelle Periche ’23. 

The Accounting program extended its appreciation to the Office of Institutional Advancement at Eastern for helping to make the event a success and for its continuing support.

Written by Joseph McGann