Rachel Mannor will be graduating from Clayton State University on Saturday, May 9, 2015, as arguably the most honored student in the 9 a.m. ceremony held in the University’s Athletic Center.
Mannor’s receiving a Bachelor’s of Business Administration May 9 has been preceded most recently by several significant honors, including being named the University’s Academic Recognition Day Representative, and multiple recognitions for her work with the Clayton State Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM) chapter.
Clearly Mannor, a non-traditional student who is married and works at Pratt Industries as an intern in the Accounts Receivable Department, owes much of her success to her own erudition and hard work. Still, she took time in her preparations for graduation to talk about how Clayton State has made her dreams real.
“I feel so blessed to have had all of this recognition,” she says. “Clayton State made my dreams real in several ways; provided me with a quality education; I was given the confidence to realize my abilities; (and) a feeling of hope and excitement for the future.”
Mannor also says that all of her professors at Clayton State have played a role in her success and making her dreams real. When asked to name some names, she hesitates for fear of leaving some out, but finally names five professors from her academic classes, and the three leading lights of her experiential learning experiences with SAM.
“(Faculty Advisor) Dr. Reza Kheirandish was my role model for SAM,” she explains. “He is an excellent leader and has a calm demeanor. He devotes so much time to the SAM chapter. His enthusiasm for student success is admirable. Dr. Lari Arjomand and Professor John Mascaritolo were the professors who encouraged me to get involved with SAM.”
In the classroom, although obviously tempted to name most of the faculty in the College of Business, Mannor finally singles out Dr. Ron Barden, Dr. Gary May, Dr. Adel Novin, Dr. Nikki Finlay and Dr. Marcus Gaddis. That’s quite a list, however, it’s clear that Mannor feels strongly about all five. It’s also clear that there’s a commonality to her comments on all five – they all provide a supportive community for their students.
“Dr. Ronald Barden, who was an adjunct instructor for cost accounting, was probably the most influential,” she says. “His class was extremely difficult, but his enthusiasm for accounting made me want to work hard. After I finished taking my final exam, he took the time to talk with me. He advised me about the importance of getting involved on campus. He was an excellent mentor and I will always be grateful for his instruction.
“I was blessed to have Dr. Gary May for my strategic management class. Dr. May is one of the nicest, most caring people I know. This doesn't mean his class was easy! Even though the material was difficult, Dr. May made the class fun and interesting. He also went out of his way to introduce himself to me, which made me feel important. I try to stop by his office as often as I can for a visit; he is always smiling and happy!
“Dr. Novin is one of the most giving professors I know. He really wants his students to learn the material, and not just aim for a grade. Dr. Finlay is also a very good teacher. She utilizes online homework tools and then discusses the more difficult information in class. She made economics understandable!
“Dr. Gaddis is a visiting professor for accounting. He is passionate about accounting and wants all of his students to pass the CPA exam. Dr. Gaddis is a living history book and I have learned so much from his past experiences.”
A member of Clayton State’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, a national business honor fraternity, Mannor is also president of Clayton State’s highly-decorated SAM chapter. At the recent annual SAM Business Case Competition, Clayton State took second place in the competition for the James Rutherford Trophy (the undergraduate SAM division trophy) and also received the third place Campus Chapter Performance Program award for small SAM chapters, based on the chapter officers’ report of activity and a financial statement submitted to the SAM organization by Chapter President Mannor. In addition to leading her team to those honors, Mannor also received the Outstanding Student National Award at the SAM competition, an honor that goes to less than 15 SAM chapter student members nationwide, and added the Outstanding Student Regional Award as well.
After graduation, Mannor is working towards the extra courses that her 150 hour Certified Public Account license requires. Her ultimate goal is to be a CPA partner or a CFO for a private company. And then, when she retires from that position, she would like to open her own business.
Big dreams, but, then again, Rachel Mannor has already had many dreams made real.
“My main goal in college (was) to be successful,” she says, in what may be the understatement of the year. “I also want to be an example for other non-traditional students. I have found that receiving an education is very rewarding, and no matter how old a person is, it is never too late to go back to school. Learning is a life-long process.”