Bryant University 2020 Alumni Achievement Award winners headshots
Bryant honors some of the University's most accomplished alumni with the 2020 Alumni Achievement Awards. From top left: George E. Bello ’58, ’96H; Sharon (Guenther) Garavel ’85; John Froehlich, M.D. ’09 MBA; Mary (Green) Dunn ’12, ’13 MBA; Jay Weinberg ’85; Allison G. Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology; and Loren J. “Andy” Andreo, Sr. ’51

Honoring Bryant's Alumni Achievement Award winners
Apr 13, 2020, by Staff Writer

The annual Alumni Achievement Awards recognize the active, inspiring members of the Bryant community who are not only personally and professionally accomplished, but also exemplify what it means to be “inspired to excel.” The difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony and dinner scheduled for April 17 doesn’t make our alumni award recipients any less special. Bryant looks forward to celebrating this year’s honorees at a future date, but in the meantime, please learn about their career paths and accomplishments. 

This year’s 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. 

George E. Bello ’58, ’96H

Key to the University Award 

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. 

George E. Bello ’58, ’96H is a passionate champion for Bryant University and a worthy recipient of this rarely conferred honor. He 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 a lead gift of $5 million 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,” says Bello.

Under the leadership of Bello and the late Malcolm Chace, that campaign raised $40.6 million and launched the visionary approach to academic excellence and stellar facilities that has characterized Bryant’s steady ascent among higher education institutions nationwide. 

Bello is the retired Executive Vice President and Controller of Reliance Group Holdings. A long-time member of Bryant’s Wall Street Council, he offers valuable insight and advice to students beginning their finance careers and provides networking opportunities for alumni. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1984 and is a member of the Bryant Leadership Council of Donors.

At the heart of Bello’s support for the University is his admiration for Bryant students. “I am deeply impressed by the high quality of the Bryant student body,” explains Bello. “They are well prepared, exceptional students who make Bryant a very special place.” 

Bello’s admiration for the University is inseparable from his high regard for Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley and his wife, Kati. “Their dedication to the University and its students is outstanding.” 

“I heard Ron’s first commencement address and was very intrigued by his remarks,” recalls Bello. “Twenty-four years ago, we needed an entrepreneur and we got one and much more. He had a great vision for Bryant and a clear plan to bring it forward that has worked. It’s most impressive, I think, that when students graduate, virtually all of them have a job waiting with a solid starting salary. I think our alumni are very proud of the University and the education they received here.” 

Now a private investor, Bello has served on numerous corporate boards in the United States and Europe. He and his wife, Carol, support a number of charitable organizations and have been involved as volunteers for the Archdiocese of Bridgeport. 

Sharon (Guenther) Garavel ’85

Distinguished Alumna Award (established 1981)

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 has 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 JP Morgan Chase, a position she had 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. 

Prior to JP Morgan 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.”

Loren J. “Andy” Andreo, Sr. ’51

Distinguished Alumnus Award (established 1981)

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 6 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 as 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.”

Mary (Green) Dunn ’12, ’13 MBA

Young Alumna Leadership Award (established 1989)

This award recognizes an alumnus/a 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, ’13 MBA received a job offer from Tribal Vision — a marketing services company in Assonet, MA — 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 seven years, Dunn has progressed through five increasingly responsible positions at Tribal Vision, starting as a Marketing Associate and culminating in a recent 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 Tribal Vision 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 Program, and the Alumni Shadow Program. Her husband and their group of close friends are all Bryant alumni — as is the co-founder of Tribal Vision 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

Nelson J. Gulski Service Award

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/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

Distinguished Faculty Award (established 1981)

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 school.” It became her professional passion when she taught fifth graders after earning her undergraduate degree from The College of William and Mary and realized first-hand, “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, 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 numerous 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.”

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 that my training in educational psychology would evolve into a passion for design thinking,” she notes. “But Bryant’s focus on the intersections between business and arts and sciences allowed me to be creative and explore the psychological underpinnings of innovation and design in both my research and teaching.” 

A faculty team member in Bryant’s signature IDEA program since its inauguration, she has served as program director for three years. She is thrilled by the opportunities to mentor student leaders and 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,” she explains.

A member of the advisory committee for the Academic Innovation Center, 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,” she says, adding, “Bryant gives students everything they need to grow. This absolutely is my dream job.”

John Froehlich, M.D. ’09 MBA

Distinguished Alumnus Award, Graduate School

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. ’09 MBA, 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.

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