Posted on June 24, 2021 by Wendy Frost

In celebration of their recent graduation, the UTSA Carlos Alvarez College of Business Center for Professional Excellence hosted a hooding ceremony for the 2021 Executive MBA (EMBA) graduates.

Graduates participated both in-person and virtually to celebrate their successes as well as their perseverance due to the educational challenges faced during the pandemic.

During the ceremony, JT Thompson ’21, was named the Wayne J. Drymala Scholar. The graduating class nominates a peer who demonstrates ethical behavior, contributes intellectually to program activities, supports others and excels in team building and leadership.

Established in 2008, the Wayne J. Drymala Memorial Endowed Scholarship is awarded to one graduating EMBA student each year. The award was established in honor of Wayne Drymala, EMBA ’01, who passed away in 2006.

“I owe all of you a debt of gratitude for helping me get through these last few semesters online,” said Thompson, an entrepreneur and 25-year Air Force veteran. “It was an opportunity for growth. I really appreciate that it was a peer-nominated award.”

Choosing to pay it forward as past awardees have previously done, he will use the funding to support the Stivali Organization–a philanthropic entity advancing workforce development and economic opportunity in which he serves as general manager.

“We all come to this program with big dreams. We had big aspirations that we are headed toward,” said Thompson. “Be the catalyst, the voice that your community needs you to be. This isn’t the end of the journey, it is just the beginning.”

The EMBA program began in 1997 and is a comprehensive 21-month lockstep MBA program designed for experienced managers, professionals and rising leaders. The program, which features both general management and health professionals tracks, provides a collaborative learning environment where students engage with accomplished faculty and a talented peer group who share relevant experiences and perspectives from a variety of industries.

Closing out the ceremony, Bruce Rudy, faculty director of the Center for Professional Excellence shared these words of advice with the students. “Live every day and use the tools that you’ve developed and gained through this program and your connections and conversation with your peers to persist, to persevere.”

Members of the 2021 graduating EMBA class are Andrew Adams, S. Hinan Ahmed, Chatchawin Assanasen, Joshua Brandt, Ramon Cancino, Marisela Castanares, Veronica Davila, Denton Deutsch, Michael Donaldson, Porfirio Garcia, Eric Gates, Jonathan Gelfond, Mark Gomez, Felix Gonzales, Joshua Hanson, Winona Johnson, Stephanie Licona, Michael Pariseau, Diana Rojas, Celeste Roman, Benjamin Skidmore, Jeffrey Thompson, Stephanie Villarreal, Tim Vu and Jeff Young.

The UTSA EMBA is a 21-month MBA program taught by leading-edge research faculty and award-winning educators. In 2021, CEO Magazine ranked the EMBA program No. 9 globally. 

— Wendy Frost