Those who received awards at Friday’s ceremony:

  • Beacom School of Business Faculty Excellence Award – Teaching: Tom Davies, Black Hills Corp. Distinguished Professor of Accounting. Davies serves as chair of the division of accounting and finance at USD. He has authored/co-authored more than 50 journal articles, and received the Belbas-Larson Award for excellence in teaching from USD in 2009.
  • Beacom School of Business Faculty Excellence Award – Research: Kathryn Birkeland, assistant professor of economics. Birkeland’s primary area of research is the economics of education, focusing on higher education finance, student aid programs, access to college, and the combined effects of tax structure and higher education funding policies.
  • Beacom School of Business Dean’s Award of Excellence: Denise Knutson, program assistant for student services. Knutson has served the Beacom School of Business and its students for 26 years.
  • Beacom School of Business Distinguished Service Award: Billie Jo Waara, chief marketing officer for Taco John’s International. Waara’s focus is marketing strategy, innovation and menu development for the chain’s 400 restaurants. Waara received her MBA from the University of South Dakota.

Two business students were also recognized. Reanna Bertram received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. She is a student in the joint B.B.A./M.P.A. program from Vermillion. Bertram has accepted a full-time position as an audit assistant with Deloitte in Omaha, Nebraska, after graduation. Amanda Kellen was honored with the Outstanding Senior Award. Kellen is from Cherokee, Iowa, and is pursuing a major in finance and a minor in accounting. After graduation, Kellen will begin full-time employment with the FDIC in Des Moines, Iowa.

"The awards banquet is an occasion to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our best and the brightest,” said Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., dean at the Beacom School of Business. “Our faculty are truly outstanding and committed to both teaching and research excellence, a hallmark of our accreditation status."

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