Councilmembers Provide Instrumental Guidance and Financial Support
By University Development
It takes a village to raise a child, and often to educate a student as well. Dean Eugene Sivadas of the Lam Family College of Business (LFCoB) is not leaving this to chance and has purposefully developed a core group of alumni, experts, friends, and local business leaders to support the college and its students. The group, called the Lam Family College of Business Advisory Council, has become a cornerstone of Dean Sivadas’s strategic approach to growing the college.
The Business Advisory Council members are key partners in helping Dean Sivadas to pursue the goal of providing a high-quality education based on experiential learning. Meeting three times a year, the 15 council members bring advanced expertise in their fields and are trusted advisors to the dean and faculty. Many council members also provide the college with important connections to the workforce and facilitate internships and jobs for students. Several are also major donors to the college, supporting students and faculty in creating quality programming and funding scholarships for students in need.
LFCoB Dean Eugene Sivadas
In addition to the direct support the council brings to the college, Dean Sivadas sees it as an important connection to the alumni body and the business community, facilitating key relationships with industry leaders in the Bay Area and beyond. “Each member offers us connections to different industries, whether the tech industry, the hospitality industry, the finance industry, and so on,” says Dean Sivadas. “They also allow us to spread the word about the college and our programs within their fields, both to potential employers and students.”
34% of the students at the LFCoB are first-generation college students, and 35% are Pell grant eligible. For these students, receiving the support of a “village” is vital to their success, as they may not have family or community connections to guide them in their educational journey or career.
As an alumnus himself, Okorie Ramsey (B.S., ’92) is well aware of this need. In his role as a council member, Ramsey has worked to advance the college’s standing and increase funding for programs and scholarships for San Francisco State’s business students. In 2018, he established the Ramsey Family Scholarship Endowment Fund to provide scholarship support for SF State accounting students with financial needs. As Vice President of Sarbanes/Oxley (SOX) at Kaiser Permanente, Ramsey is a shining example of success to current students, especially students from underrepresented communities who may be inspired to see someone who represents their community in leadership positions.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Dean Sivadas and the other council members to support the college, faculty, and students,” says Okorie. “I’m especially motivated by our work on increasing equity and inclusion at the college.” Okorie says that “to whom much is given, much is expected, and I’m proud to be a donor to the college and to be involved with decision-making to evolve and advance the college in support of the students, faculty, and surrounding communities.”
Since the council’s inception, leadership council members have donated more than $218,000 to the Lam Family College of Business. One of the group’s major donors, Loretta Doon (M.A., ’73), has used her high-profile experience in the accounting field to advise the LFCoB Accounting department. In 2021, she helped the college establish four faculty fellowships, which became a catalyst for the creation of a new curriculum. “Thanks to Loretta’s generous donation, four faculty members were able to develop new cutting-edge accounting courses in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity, which our students will be benefitting from for years to come,” says Dean Sivadas.
Last year, Dean Sivadas was able to take the council in a new direction by adding alumnus Pramukti Surjaudaja (B.S, ’85), the President Commissioner of Bank OCBC NISP of Indonesia, to the group. Pramuk was particularly impressed with the college’s mentorship program and made a donation to enable mentorship for more students, now serving 42 students. Dean Sivadas has also been discussing the possibility of an online international internship for a student with Pramukti, which would be a first for the college.
Building on the council’s dynamism, Dean Sivadas plans to continue the expansion of the council to 30 members, tapping into key industry leaders to meet the evolving needs of the college. “I would like to add members to the council who are entrepreneurs,” says Dean Sivadas. “The college is very focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, and one of my goals is to have a launchpad at SF State which will support students, alumni, and community members in starting their own businesses.” He would also like to add representatives from the hospitality and tourism sectors, as well as from the marketing, credit union banking, and commercial real estate sectors.
“The Lam Family College of Business has excellent faculty and programming at an affordable price,” says Dean Sivadas. “Our goal with the council is to provide services and programs which enhance the quality of education, raising the stature and competitiveness of the college and University.”
For more information about the LFCoB Business Advisory Council, please visit: https://cob.sfsu.edu/about/business-advisory-council