Collage headshots of Bryant Champions Dinner award recipients
The 2020 award recipients, whose recognition dinner was postponed by COVID-19. From top left: Patrick and Margaret Nassaney, P’95, P’98, Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Foundation; George E. Bello ’58, ’96H; Sharon (Guenther) Garavel ’85; John Froehlich, M.D. ’09MBA. Second row from left: Mary Green Dunn ’12, ’13MBA; Jay Weinberg ’85; Allison G. Butler, Ph.D.; Loren J. Andreo ’51.
Champions Dinner honors 2020 Alumni Achievement Award recipients
Sep 28, 2021, by Staff Writer
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October 1 saw the celebration of the achievements and generosity of several alumni and friends of the University, with a Champions Dinner that was postponed last spring due to COVID-19. Eight award recipients were feted at the long-awaited event.  

The 2020 honorees have not only followed their passions in life, but have demonstrated exemplary character, and have enhanced the excellence and reputation of the University through their engagement, their giving and their ongoing ambassadorship.


About the honorees

George E. Bello ’58, ’96H


This award is the most prestigious honor the University bestows. It is presented periodically to an esteemed graduate who has made a major and lasting impact on Bryant through service and support that spans decades and has improved and distinguished the University in a singular way.

A tireless and dedicated advocate, benefactor and friend to the University, George E. Bello ’58, ’96H, is awarded the Bryant Alumni Association’s most prestigious award: The Key to the University.

Only the seventh recipient of the Key, which was first awarded in 2002, Bello’s longstanding devotion to his alma mater has given tens of thousands of students an opportunity to study and prepare to excel in business, the humanities and sciences.

Bello has brought his business expertise to the Board of Trustees, first serving from 1986 to 1989.  Reelected in 2006, he served through 2015, and joined the board again in 2016. He co-chaired the University’s first Capital Campaign from 1998 to 2004, contributing the lead gift for the construction of the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology, which houses the Douglas and Judith Krupp Library and a host of cutting-edge technology resources for students. “When I had the opportunity to give back, I was glad to do it,” he says.

But his contributions to the University and its students extend far beyond the monetary: Bello has served on the Bryant University Board of Trustees over the course of more than 20 years. What’s more, he has given countless hours of his own time and energy to help students make crucial connections to launch their careers, frequently bringing them together with alumni for networking opportunities. A familiar face on campus and at alumni events in New York and Connecticut, he says it is a privilege to start young people on the path of opportunity that he has traveled because of his Bryant education.

“I have been fortunate in my life and career,” he told guests at a gala celebrating the conclusion of the Campaign for Bryant capital campaign – for which he served as Chairperson – from 1998--2004. “I owe a large portion of my good fortune to my Bryant experience.”

Philanthropy, he says, is a two-way street that has enriched him by providing the opportunity to have a positive influence on future generations.

The retired Executive Vice President and Controller of Reliance Group Holdings in New York, NY, he also held executive-level positions with prominent organizations including Gibraltar Savings Association and Frank B. Hall & Company. Now a private investor, Bello has served on numerous corporate boards in the United States and Europe.

He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1984 and an honorary degree from Bryant in 1996.

Bello served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He and his wife, Carol, have four sons and six  grandchildren, and live in New York City and Connecticut.


Patrick and Margaret Nassaney, P’95, P’98,
Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Foundation


The Champions of Philanthropy Award recognizes members of the University community who have demonstrated a significant role in the transformative power of leadership-level giving, reflected in the success of future generations of students who are inspired to excel at Bryant.

After Shawn M. Nassaney ’98 was killed aboard United Flight 175 in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Towers, his devoted family turned the tragedy into an ongoing source of generosity. With help from close friends and colleagues, Patrick “Pat” and Margaret Nassaney P’95, P’98 founded the Shawn M. Nassaney Foundation to honor his memory in a way that reflected his character and his boundless passion for life. Since then, the Nassaneys have dedicated their lives to touching as many people as they can through their son’s legacy.

“What helps a lot is finding something to make good out of,” Pat told the Sun Chronicle in 2011.

Speaking of Shawn and his fiancée Lynn C. Goodchild ’98, who was traveling to Hawaii with Shawn when the two were killed, he said, “They truly were so special in so many ways, you just can’t let that loss go quietly into the night. You have to find people like them, and give them all the encouragement and nurturing you can.”

The foundation established the Shawn M. Nassaney Endowed Scholarship, providing financial assistance to Bryant student-athletes. In memory of Shawn’s outstanding performance as a track & field and cross-country team captain, funds from the foundation also support programs at Bryant, including the University’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program.

Each year since 2001, the Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Race/Walk, a celebration of Shawn’s life, has attracted thousands of competitors, spectators, donors and friends, with proceeds going to the foundation and funding philanthropic gifts in his name. Though 2021 is the final year of the Memorial Race/Walk, the associated collegiate invitational will continue to honor Shawn’s memory.

The foundation also funds the Nassaney Memorial Program of the Year Award, and helped to establish an endowed scholarship fund for student-athletes. And each year the Nassaneys present the prestigious Bulldog Cup to the winning teams, along with an additional generous donation.

As recipients of Bryant’s Champions for Philanthropy Award, the Nassaneys join an esteemed group of alumni, trustees, parents, and friends of the University whose private philanthropy is an investment in excellence that galvanizes others to join in a philanthropic partnership that grows stronger each year.


Loren J. Andreo ’51


This award recognizes a Bryant alumnus or alumna with a record of outstanding professional achievement or community service. Such distinction may include the fields of education, science, business, government, sports, the arts or other areas.

Bryant’s ability to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit of its students dates back decades – and is evident in the life and career of Loren J. “Andy” Andreo ’51. Shortly after graduating at age 23, he opened Andy’s Market in East Hartford, CT. It was the first of many independent grocery stores he owned and operated that remained competitive for more than five decades in an ever-changing food and retail environment.

Always the entrepreneur, he invested in many other entities including bowling lanes, liquor stores, and professional sports teams. Andreo also had the foresight and business acumen to build a strategic portfolio of 700,000-square-feet of commercial real estate and food franchise operations that has grown into a thriving family business, Andreo Family Enterprises.

Complementing his desire to serve friends and neighbors through local, independent grocery stores is Andreo’s longstanding commitment to service in his community and industry. He has held positions as a member of the Connecticut Vocational Board of Education; director of the Glastonbury Bank and Trust Company; treasurer for the Dewey Investment Company; director of the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce; member of the East Hartford Rotary; director of the Connecticut Food Stores Association; and board member of the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

With a grateful nod to his heritage, Andreo has been a member of the Manchester chapter of UNICO, a nationwide organization of people of Italian descent who work together on community, national, and global projects to benefit others. He has served as a director of the charitable foundation sponsored by the Hartford County Sheriff’s Office. He also has generously supported a number of other organizations, with a particular affinity for East Catholic High School of Manchester, where his six children and 14 of 22 grandchildren were educated. Several endowed scholarships and the gymnasium at the school bear the Andreo family name.

Andreo credits Bryant for the excellent education he received and has fond memories of Nelson J. Gulski, a revered faculty member and dean. Among his proudest achievements, Andreo cites the ability he and his late wife, Margaret, had to fully fund high school and college educations for their beloved grandchildren.

“Coming out of the Navy and attending Bryant under the GI Bill, I found the accounting and finance classes interesting, and helpful as I entered the business world. I started with Commercial Credit  Corporation and within six months received three promotions. I said to myself, ‘I might was well start my own business and see how I do.’ With a supportive wife, a supportive family, and God’s blessings, I did pretty well.”


Sharon (Guenther) Garavel ’85


This award recognizes a Bryant alumnus or alumna with a record of outstanding professional achievement or community service. Such distinction may include the fields of education, science, business, government, sports, the arts or other areas.

Sharon (Guenther) Garavel ’85 cites two particular aspects of her Bryant experience as formative in her life and career. The first is the memorable teaching style of the professor who taught her auditing classes, Robert Provost.

Garavel recalls that while he expected students to master the textbook material, Provost told stories based on his real-life accounting experiences to teach auditing principles, practices, and pitfalls.

“Everything was memorable,” says Garavel. “It was where I learned storytelling is a memorable way to teach.” Guided by this influence, Garavel uses stories from her own life to teach people about leadership. “To this day, I am a massive storyteller.”

The second transformational experience was the opportunity to step up and lead – including serving as an RA, orientation leader, campaign coordinator for naming the on-campus ice cream shop and alumni reunion leader. “Bryant always made it easy to be a leader. You always had the chance to step up,” Garavel notes. “All you needed was the desire, and it was all there – resources, programs, accessibility.  My leadership skills were a driving force during my time at Bryant.”

Those skills – and a passion for teaching and continuous learning – have helped Garavel succeed and thrive in the two career positions she has held since graduation. She is the Managing Director/Operations Executive at JPMorgan Chase, a position she has held for three years. As head of the wholesale lending services for all lines of business, she is leading 2,300 employees in 40 locations worldwide on a journey to transform how the division functions.

Garavel is a champion for her people. Since joining JPMorgan Chase, she has been an executive sponsor for several initiatives that continue to drive a culture of empowerment and inclusion within the firm.

Prior to JPMorgan Chase, Garavel spent 27 years with GE Capital – the company’s commercial lending division. In her last position as a company officer and Vice President for Enterprise Initiatives, she supported operations, risk, finance, legal and compliance functions for a complex and strategic regulatory mandate.

Both positions “reinforced my love for leadership, teaching, and shaping strategy,” explains Garavel. While it’s “the hardest job I’ve ever had from an influencing point of view,” Garavel is up to the challenge. “Bryant helped me to be a leader and I’m grateful.”


John Froehlich, M.D. ’09MBA


This award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of Bryant University’s Graduate School of Business who has a demonstrated record of outstanding professional achievement or community service.

A decade ago, John Froehlich, M.D. ’09MBA, a skilled orthopedic surgeon, recognized that a graduate business degree would enhance his ability to provide the highest level of care to his patients. He earned a Bryant University Master of Business Administration degree – adding to an impressive list of medical education and professional accomplishments.

Dr. Froehlich is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery and has been associated with Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital for more than 30 years. He specializes in reconstructive surgery and sports medicine for patients of all ages who are diagnosed with shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee injuries and ailments. He is a founding member of University Orthopedics, a regional referral center with a team of more than 45 board-certified, fellowship-trained musculoskeletal and sports medicine physicians.

A Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Dr. Froehlich led the development of the Total Joint Center at The Miriam Hospital, the region’s highest volume program for total hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement procedures. The Center’s clinical and quality outcomes rank among the best in the nation.

“My business degree from Bryant University was a significant contributing factor in my ability to  establish and manage successful health care practices and clinics,” Froehlich says. “The high-quality professors, including Elaine Notarantonio, Ph.D.; Lori Coakley, Ph.D.; Sam Mirmirani, Ph.D.; and Michael Roberto, DBA, helped shape my understanding of the business side of medicine and helped prepare me to lead.”

Even as the field of orthopedic surgery has been transformed through advanced techniques that require new approaches and skills, so too have the “back office” functions of medical practices been impacted by ongoing changes in health policy, regulations, and insurance.

Dr. Froehlich has experienced and embraced challenges at every turn in his medical career. He remains confident about his profession’s commitment to patients and its ability to deliver comprehensive care in the most effective and efficient way.


Mary Green Dunn ’12, ’13MBA


This award recognizes an alumnus or alumna from 2005 to the present who has demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership, outstanding personal achievement, and/or dedicated community service

Mary Green Dunn ’12, ’13MBA received a job offer from TribalVision – a marketing services company located in Boston, MA with an office in Warwick, RI – as she was handing in her final graduate exam. She accepted the position – and found a professional environment where the opportunities for leadership and advancement mirrored her undergraduate and graduate experiences at Bryant University.

A marketing and management major, Dunn discovered that while the tactical side of marketing intrigued her, she more naturally embraced the challenges of leadership and management. In just eight years, Dunn has progressed through five increasingly responsible positions at TribalVision, starting as a Marketing Associate and culminating in a promotion to Director. Her appointment marked the first time a non-owner of the company has held a director position.

Dunn, who played on Bryant’s Women’s Lacrosse and Soccer teams, thrives in a competitive environment. “I love the people I work with and the ability to control my own destiny,” she explains. “Being competitive motivates me.” She manages a team of more than 25 talented staff who help businesses grow by serving as extensions of their marketing operations. “We’re consultants who stick around to help our clients implement solutions.”

The leadership opportunities at Bryant – as captain of two sports and director of a school play – prepared Dunn to excel in her workplace. “Those extracurriculars really helped,” she says, noting that the skill set she brought to TribalVision accelerated her advancement. “If you take on responsibility, they will keep feeding you more.” Her “more” includes overseeing an in-house mentoring program for employees that provides feedback and accountability between new hires and seasoned employees.

Dunn’s continuing connection with Bryant includes participation in the AlumniFire career mentoring network, the Alumni Shadow program, and the Alumni Career Service Network. Her husband and their group of close friends are all Bryant alumni – as is the co-founder of TribalVision and many employees.

Her recognition with the Young Alumna Leadership Award is particularly gratifying to Dunn. “I do consider myself a hard worker. To get the promotion I worked so hard for and receive recognition from the school I love is really awesome.”


Jay Weinberg ’85


This award recognizes a Bryant alumnus or alumna with a record of exemplary and longstanding volunteer service to the University or the Alumni Association. Such service will have enhanced the name, prestige, or educational excellence of the University or significantly furthered the outreach and professionalism of the association. This award is named for Nelson J. Gulski ’26, ’72H, ’92H, whose association with Bryant as a student, teacher, administrator, and trustee spanned more than 70 years.

With his Bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in hand, Jay Weinberg ’85 began to build a career that merged his technical skills with a passion for marketing. After positions with industry leaders EDS and Leo Burnett, he founded The JAY Group in 1999, a marketing services and technology company in Chicago that specializes in customer loyalty.

In recent years, Weinberg has reconnected with Bryant and offered his industry experience, leadership skills, and life lessons to Bryant’s alumni and students in many creative ways.

"I’ve always had a fondness for Bryant,” explains Weinberg. “I had a wonderful experience there and love the place and the people. When I started to get involved, I realized I could bring my experience to the forefront. It’s important to me that I apply my skills and talent to a worthy cause I really love.”

Weinberg’s gifts of time and talent to Bryant have been many and varied. He is the immediate past president and current honorary member of the National Alumni Council. He also serves on the Council for Jewish Life and Culture, and is a member of Bryant’s Alumni Ambassador Program, Alumni Admission Connection, and Midwest Regional Alumni Network. He participates in the University’s AlumniFire career and mentoring program and has served as an Alumni Mentor for the IDEA Program and as a judge for the New Venture Competition. Weinberg’s favorite thing about his many Bryant connections is the incredible number of relationships he has fostered. Whether it’s mentoring students and recent grads, collaborating with faculty and staff, or networking with fellow alumni, he is most proud of the impact he has been able to both give and receive with the Bryant community.

It’s the University’s commitment to continuous growth and change that keeps Weinberg enthusiastically engaged. “I’m really proud of Bryant – to see how the University has grown both in reputation as well as in the campus itself. When the Unistructure was first built, it was unique. And that tradition of  innovation continues, especially with the AIC. Every institution, like every person, should always be  growing.”


Allison G. Butler, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and IDEA Program Director


Full-time faculty members who have been employed by the University for at least three consecutive years are eligible for this award. The candidate is nominated in recognition of devotion to teaching, dedication to the profession as well as personal concern for, and commitment to, students.

As a child, Dr. Allison Butler’s favorite activity was “playing teacher.” It became her professional passion when she taught fifth graders after earning her undergraduate degree from The College of William and Mary and realized firsthand, “the remarkable impact a teacher can have on young people.” She loved the energy of the classroom and particularly enjoyed instructional design and curriculum development.

Determined to become a master teacher, Dr. Butler earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College. In 2008, the Cranston, RI native came “home” to join the faculty at Bryant University where she has earned more than a dozen awards recognizing her teaching excellence and inspiring leadership. “When I came to Bryant, I didn’t know what a wonderful fit it would be for me.

This is a school that’s on the move with energy and a forward-thinking approach.”

Dr. Butler teaches classes in Educational Psychology, Child and Adolescent Development, and Design Thinking – a cross-disciplinary course she co-teaches with colleagues from the Department of Management. “I never envisioned teaching education courses to non-pre-service students,” notes Dr. Butler. “But Bryant allowed me to be creative and help my students become passionate about the discipline. The principles of teaching, learning, motivation, and environmental variables are all rooted in educational psychology and are relevant to every profession.”

A faculty team member in Bryant’s signature IDEA program since its inauguration, she has served as program director for four years. She is thrilled by the opportunity to develop an inspiring curriculum for the three-day design thinking boot camp. “Being part of IDEA has really connected me to my foundations as a teacher and has changed my professional trajectory,” explains Dr. Butler.

She received the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. A member of the advisory committee for the Academic Innovation Center, Dr. Butler helped plan instructional spaces where creativity, collaboration, and discovery – for both faculty and students – can flourish. “I think of it as a professor’s playground, says Dr. Butler, adding, “Bryant gives students everything they need to grow. This absolutely is my dream job.”

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