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“Why I give back”: supporting Conwell’s vision

December 2, 2019 //

Meet five young alumni who are empowering the movers and shakers of tomorrow 

For many reasons, Fox alumni choose to give back to their alma mater and support Temple founder Russell Conwell’s vision to provide an excellent education to all students, regardless of their means. By donating their time, holding leadership positions on alumni association boards, mentoring students or contributing financially to scholarship programs, alumni are offering current students greater opportunities to transform themselves, their communities and the world.

Get to know five dynamic young alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years and are making an impact by giving back.

Illustration of Grant Diener
Grant Diener by Jon Krause

Grant Diener

A shared class with accounting Professor Marco Malandra connected Grant Diener, BBA’15, MAcc ’16, and Peter A. Smith, BBA ’15, outside the classroom. After running into each other at Schuylkill Valley Sports, the two became close friends, supporting each other during their time at the Fox School and into their professional careers working at Big Four accounting firms.

Just two years after graduating, Smith tragically passed away from Lyme disease. Due to complications of this disease, a viral infection ultimately led to heart failure. The unthinkable loss sparked an idea for Diener and his friends to honor Smith’s memory by creating a lasting tribute at the Fox School: the Peter A. Smith Memorial Scholarship for accounting majors. “We elected to do something at Temple since that’s the place we all met Pete and he had great success at Fox,” says Diener.

Diener, his family and friends created a group “#4PetesSake” to raise money for the tuition scholarship and annually host a tailgate in Smith’s honor at Temple Homecoming Weekend. Recipients of the award must submit an essay about a work or volunteer assignment that demonstrates devotion to family, leadership skills and a strong work ethic—characteristics and values Smith possessed.

“Pete was a true gentleman who had an amazing attitude and loved to help others regardless of the task,” says Diener. “No matter how long you knew Pete, he made an impact on each person’s life through his contagious smile, energy and genuine love. His passing was a tragedy, hence why we started this scholarship.”

Illustration of Sasha Buddle
Sasha K. Buddle by Jon Krause

Sasha K. Buddle

Just hours after graduating, Sasha K. Buddle, BBA ’16, HRM ’18, signed up for as many

alumni association newsletters as she could. The journey to her becoming a two-time Fox graduate was long: Bud emigrated from Jamaica to the U.S. following high school graduation, enlisted in the U.S. Army and served a tour in Afghanistan, all before setting her sights on business school. 

“It was important for me to stay involved and make all students and alumni feel like they always have a home at Fox, so I eventually took on a leadership position to make a bigger impact and offer a unique perspective from having a diverse background,” says Buddle. Today, she serves as a director-at-large on the Fox Alumni Board and is responsible for helping plan events, manage the budget and pioneer a new mentorship program for alumni, all while working full-time at Deloitte in human capital services.

Illustration of Jack Cesareo
Jack Cesareo by Jon Krause

Giacomo “Jack” Cesareo

Giacomo “Jack” Cesareo, BBA ’06, believes in the university’s motto, “Perseverance Conquers,” so strongly that he has been an avid supporter of student and alumni initiatives since graduating, serving on numerous committees and leading several groups, most recently as the previous president of the Fox School of Business Alumni Association (FSBAA) and currently as a director-at-large with the Temple University Alumni Association (TUAA).

“I learned lifelong skills at the Fox School that have propelled my career. I believe, as alumni, we should improve our experiences and opportunities for the next person by giving back,” says Cesareo.

He’s demonstrating his commitment to excellence beyond volunteering and showing his support for the strategic vision of the Fox School by funding a new scholarship for students studying international business—a passion he gets to express professionally as an operations manager for a multi-national digital transformation company, CI&T. “I’m giving my support to the strategic plan and direction of Fox to show any prospective student that this is the commitment, character and integrity you can expect from a great institution,” says Cesareo.

Illustration of Eric Hamilton
Eric Hamilton by Jon Krause

Eric Hamilton

Serving on Temple Student Government his senior year as chief of staff inspired Eric Hamilton, BBA ’16, to stay connected as a board member of the Temple Young Alumni Association (TUYA) right after graduating and to relaunch the Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) at Fox this year. As co-president of the reinvigorated group, Hamilton is working toward a goal of connecting young accounting alumni in the Philadelphia area at networking events in unique spots in the city and on campus. 

Working in the industry as a senior associate at RSM, Hamilton recognizes the benefits of staying in touch with peers and meeting other professionals and wants to enable those relationships while supporting Fox.

“By giving back to Fox through YAAG and supporting accounting students, we’re building the future of the accounting profession,” says Hamilton. “I think our stewardship as young professionals is probably one of the most important things we can offer right now.”

Illustration of Melissa Cameron
Melissa Cameron by Jon Krause

Melissa Cameron

Before graduating, Melissa Cameron, MAcc ’18, worked in the nonprofit arts industry and came to see the importance of connections. “They’re the lifeblood of organizations in nonprofit arts,” says Cameron. “I learned how to recognize support and pay it forward.” 

Today, Cameron returns the support she received from Fox in launching her accounting career with Deloitte as a co-president of YAAG. She chose to stay connected and give her time in a leadership role in order to keep in touch and network with peers, share and hear about successes and challenges, and mentor students. 

“I received tremendous support from Fox while in school, both tangibly with financial support and intangibly with moral and community support,” says Cameron. “I want to pay that forward for incoming students and soon-to-be young alumni.”

Interested in getting involved or deepening your connection with your alma mater? Visit fox.temple.edu/alumni for events, follow @foxalumni on social media and consider supporting students with a gift in any amount at giving.temple.edu/givetofox.

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