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Retired Professor Elizabeth Yobaccio's Bryant Legacy Is Equal Parts International Business and Gratitude

Elizabeth YabaccioWhen Elizabeth Yobaccio was finishing her PhD dissertation in the 1990s and about to launch her job search, a colleague recommended that she visit the Bryant College campus. "Why not?" she decided, never imagining that, over the next 27 years, Bryant would become her professional home, where her career as a professor of finance would flourish.

"I just fell in love with the school. I knew that was the right place for me," she recalls.

The timing was fortunate. A few years later, Bryant would welcome new president Ron Machtley, whose vision for the future of the University included an increased global presence. When he began to consider adding an international business program, Yobaccio was its strongest advocate.

"At the time, we had international marketing, international management—many different courses that had the word 'international' in it, but no program."

Machtley entrusted Yobaccio with creating a rigorous program that integrated across business disciplines, which she helped to make distinctive by requiring study abroad, a foreign language minor and a concentration in a functional area of business. Recalling the challenge, she credits Machtley and Bryant with giving her an opportunity that she says was unique in academia.

"I haven't heard of anybody ever being given so much influence in developing a program like that."

But, she says, Bryant was different. Even as a new faculty member, she was encouraged to innovate, noting that she was put on the Strategic Planning Committee during her first year.

"Where else would that happen?" she still marvels.

Since, its creation in 2004, the program has steadily grown, and in 2018, U.S. News & World Report recognized it as one of the best in the nation—#25 in a field of some of the most prestigious universities in the country. "And, it keeps getting better!" she says, with pride.

Now, two years into her well-deserved retirement from teaching, a tenure that included a decade as chair of the finance department, she continues to show her gratitude for Bryant. Through a carefully crafted planned gift, Yobaccio and her husband, Ronald, underwrite the Yobaccio Family Award for Leadership in International Business, an award made annually to a graduating senior in the International Business program who demonstrates exceptional on- and off-campus leadership and service. The award preserves Yobaccio's connection to the program that means so much to her and provides high-achieving students with momentum as they start their careers, as well as "something they can put on their résumés and recognition that they had really done something extraordinary."

For those considering a planned gift to Bryant, Yobaccio recommends learning more about how an IRA can allow a qualified donor to maximize the impact of their philanthropy while also offering a tax incentive. She credits the Bryant Development team with helping her craft her IRA gift, providing an advantageous way to help fund the award now that she has reached the age for required minimum distributions.

"It's such a convenient way to give back to a school that gave me so much."

Yobaccio remains grateful to her many faculty colleagues who made gifts in honor of her retirement, contributions that have helped support the award as the endowment fund continues to mature.

"I tear up every time I think of it. It was an act of love, supporting something that was so important to me. Bryant is a very special place."

If you would like to learn more about how your planned gift can make a powerful impact at Bryant, please contact Bryant University (ask to speak to a gift officer) at 877-353-5667 or visit Bryant's planned giving website.

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