Outstanding Lecturer Award 2008-2009
February 16, 2009
TO: Campus Community
FROM: President Jon Whitmore
I am pleased to announce that the Outstanding Lecturer Selection Committee and I have chosen Mr. William D. DeVincenzi, Department of Accounting and Finance in the College of Business, as the recipient of the San José State University Outstanding Lecturer Award for 2008-2009. The Outstanding Lecturer Award recognizes a lecturer for excellence in teaching effectiveness and service to the San José State University campus community.
William DeVincenzi, "Mr. D.," as his students like to call him, began a second career at San José State University in 1994 following a successful career in the corporate finance field, including 10 years at the vice presidential and/or chief financial officer level. Perhaps his greatest strength in facilitating outstanding student learning and equipping students to succeed in the business world comes from the experience and expertise gained in his nearly 30-year career in the disciplines of accounting and finance. Nothing compares to learning from someone with that hands-on experience and knowledge. Students know this and when they enroll in his classes, they quickly realize that they have found a gifted and multi-talented lecturer in Mr. DeVincenzi. He continues to maintain his CPA license and teaches both accounting and finance courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Mr. DeVincenzi uses his corporate experience and his well-established industry contacts to enhance his classroom teaching, department curriculum, and co-curricular activities. His SOTE ratings are consistently very good to excellent, even for lower-division business classes. When his department chair was seeking a way to professionalize SJSU's finance degree in a way that would distinguish our graduates from those of other universities, Mr. DeVincenzi led the effort by facilitating and expanding the Corporate Financial Management (CFM) major, combining both accounting and finance core courses. He knew that this was precisely what corporations look for in a potential employee. He also created the "Honors Practicum," which became the capstone course for this major. The Honors Practicum selects the best students in the department and places them in corporations to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real business problems and to demonstrate their capabilities. The program became so successful that it was adopted by all of the departments within the College of Business in 2005, with Mr. DeVincenzi as its director. The success of this program attracted the attention of SJSU alumnus Gary J. Sbona, a 1966 graduate of the College of Business who currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Regent Pacific Management Corporation, a global firm specializing in restructuring, recovery and renewal of underperforming companies. Mr. DeVincenzi was instrumental in Mr. Sbona's decision to contribute $5.2 million to SJSU over ten years, with most of the gift earmarked for the Honors Practicum Program. Furthermore and under the leadership of Mr. DeVincenzi, the success of this program has caused many corporations, such as Hewlett Packard, Cisco Systems, Applied Materials, National Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems, Adobe Systems, Agilent Technologies and many more, to look to SJSU's College of Business first when hiring new employees.
William DeVincenzi's commitment to students also is reflected in the Financial Management Association (FMA) students' club success story. When he was appointed the association's faculty advisor, there were only 12 members and half of them had not paid their dues. Through his advice, coaching, commitment and support, the students have created what is now the best FMA club in the country. Going literally from last to first, they now enjoy a membership of 150-200 -- the largest in the nation. The group's National Honor Society, whose members have a 3.25 GPA and above, is also one of the largest in the nation. FMA has achieved Superior Chapter designation four years in a row, has three to four student officers recognized each year as FMA Fellows; and he has been named outstanding faculty advisor by FMA International for the past four years.
William DeVincenzi has further demonstrated his invaluable commitment and support of his students by participating in the Faculty Mentor Program, where he has mentored an average of four students per semester, plus two President's scholars and all of his FMA officers and honor students. In addition to numerous awards within the College of Business, he was named Outstanding Faculty Advisor in 2007-08 by San José State University. He volunteers as a faculty marshal at graduation ceremonies every year and attends awards ceremonies recognizing the best students. He has also served for the past seven years as director of the Mandatory Accounting and Finance Student Orientation Program, a two-and-one-half-hour session providing students with all the information, advice and opportunities they need to be successful at SJSU. He has mentored teams in the Annual Price Waterhouse Coopers University competition for college students, an intensive two-week problem-solving and presentation exercise where his teams have won first place in 2006, second in 2007, and first again in 2008. In addition, Mr. DeVincenzi has taken over the role of faculty liaison with the Financial Executives International (FEI) Scholarship Committee. In 2008, four of his students received scholarships worth $4,000 each -- this was out of a total of 10 such scholarships awarded by FEI, spread among six universities in the Bay Area, including UC Berkeley and Santa Clara.
Mr. DeVincenzi was named a Salzburg Fellow in 2007 and attended the Salzburg Global Seminar where he learned how to internationalize courses and how to internationalize a university as a whole. He has brought this perspective into his classroom through lectures, bringing in guest lecturers and taking his classes to special lectures provided by the Lucas Graduate School of Business. In the summer of 2007, he took 24 honor students to China for two weeks to experience how business is done in, with and through China. The group visited many corporations, universities and financial institutions as well as cultural and historical sites, giving students a "hands on" perspective of China's cultural and business environment. In summer of 2008, he took 20 students on a similar trip to Central Europe, visiting Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. His students have called these abroad trips their best learning experience while at SJSU. A trip is currently being planned to take 20 honor students to South America in the summer of 2009, visiting Chile and Argentina.
Please join me in congratulating William DeVincenzi, "Mr. D.," for his selection as the recipient of the 2008-2009 Outstanding Lecturer Award. The award will be presented to him at the 10th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, April 14, 11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., in the Student Union Barrett Ballroom.