McDonough School of Business
Dean Grant addresses the undergraduate Class of 2024 during the annual Tropaia exercises.
News Story

Undergraduate Class of 2024 Honored During Tropaia Ceremony

Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business recognized its undergraduate students graduating with honors during the school’s annual Tropaia. Watch the recording.

During the ceremony, Marissa Nissley (B’24) addressed her classmates to reflect on the past four years on the Hilltop. Nissley is the recipient of the Rita Zekas Sielicki Award, which is named after the first female graduate of the McDonough School of Business.

Nissley was joined on stage by her guide dog, Smalls, who has been by her side during her final years at Georgetown as she navigates school and life with a visual impairment. The decision to use a guide dog was something she originally was hesitant to pursue but decided to embrace after recognizing the power in support from others.

Marissa Nissley (B'24) has traversed the Hilltop accompanied by her guide dog, Smalls.

No Small Feat: Disability Advocate and her Guide Dog Prepare to Cross the Graduation Stage as They Do Everything Else — Together

As Marissa Nissley prepares to graduate with Smalls by her side, she hopes to convey a message: disability is more than a limitation – it is a source of strength, pride, and community.   

Read Marissa Nissley’s full story

“For most of my life, I thought the only way that I could prove I was intelligent, competent, and valuable as a blind person was to be completely independent – never asking for help,” said Nissley. “I thought I needed to minimize and hide my disability to be taken seriously. But my four years at Georgetown have taught me the power of interdependence and using our unique lived experiences as a springboard for creating meaningful change.”

Interdependence is something the Class of 2024 understood early on as they started their first semester fully remote during the pandemic. Students met each other for the first time on laptops and Zoom screens in regions from across the world as they navigated class discussions, homework, and exams – and leaned on each other for support during uncertain times. 

“The pandemic was a powerful reminder that we all rely on one another. And we [in McDonough] had to be creative, to find ways we could collaborate and care for each other over a computer screen. We also had to learn how to reach out and ask each other for help,” said Nissley. “I found that our community demonstrated incredible grace and compassion as we navigated these ‘unprecedented times.’ And it was around this time that I started to realize that the phrase ‘men and women for others’ is far more than something we put on posters.”

Nissley spoke about the value of community in helping her find her own voice and strength, which ultimately solidified her decision to adopt Smalls, who is receiving an honorary degree of his own on Saturday. 

Marissa Nissley poses with her guide dog, Smalls, and Dean Patricia Grant, during the Tropaia exercises.

“At Georgetown, I learned that my disability did not have to be the elephant in the room, that my professors and peers were interested in my ideas for how to make corporate America more accessible and inclusive,” said Nissley. “The most important thing that Georgetown teaches us is that our needs are valid, our perspectives are valuable, and our voices matter. [At McDonough], I gained the confidence to take up space, to walk proudly with my guide dog by my side.” 

As the Class of 2024 starts their next chapter, Nissley assured the graduates that they will continue to represent Georgetown’s Jesuit values as they enter their professional careers.

“The people in this room are going to be the ones who invite the new intern out for coffee, who conduct groundbreaking research, who create nonprofit organizations, and who make sure DEI is more than a buzzword in the workplace,” said Nissley. “And while we’re busy changing the world, we will never forget the power of community and interdependence that Georgetown showed us.”

During the Tropaia program, the following students received awards:

Academic Honors

Valedictorian Award

Megan Ohlinger

Salutatorian Award

Brianna Dwyer

Lena Landegger Community Service Award

Mariana Guzman

Marissa Nissley

Othmar W. Winkler Award (demonstrating a strong concern for others and the less privileged, especially in the Washington, D.C., community)

Mia Johnson

Reverend Joseph S. Sebes Award (significant overall contribution to the welfare and reputation of the school)

Sarah Ackels

Undergraduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Business and Scholarship

Tsega Afessa

Rita Zekas Sielicki Award (demonstrating superior achievement in scholarship, fostering a culture of collaboration in an evolving global environment, and committing themselves to the service of their community)

Marissa Nissley

Summa Cum Laude Students (Top 5%)

Erin Connery

Brianna Dwyer

Sean Eigendorff

Michael Hayes

Dana Jung

Spencer Karp

Nicholas Lynch

Henry McQueen

John O’Connell

Kevin Ogeka

Megan Ohlinger

Estefania Perez

Sachi Tejani

Abraham van Zanten

Dominic Vogel

Lauren Young

Accounting Awards

Accounting Faculty Award for Academic Excellence 

Erin Connery

Alan Mayer-Sommer Award for Accounting Excellence (recognizes a senior attaining the highest academic achievement in the field of accounting seeking a CPA)

Kevin Ogeka

George Houston Accounting Achievement Award

Michael Hayes

Georgetown University Accounting Society Award for Service and Excellence

Henry McQueen

Hoffman-Galasso Family Award (exceptional contributions to the Accounting Department)

Alexy Corrales

Patricia Fairfield Award for Accounting Excellence (highest academic achievement in the field of accounting beginning a career in financial services)

Dana Jung

Thomas Cooke Award for Excellence in Accounting (highest academic achievement in the field of accounting seeking a career in tax accounting or law)

Graham Murphey

Finance Awards

Lynn Doran Award for Academic Excellence in Finance

Meghan Ohlinger

Jon Lynch Award for Achievement in Finance

Estefania Perez

Michael and Robin Psaros Award for Excellence in Investments

Sean Eigendorff

Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy Engagement Award 

Alexander Yu

Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy Award for Excellence in Financial Education

Ana Clara Fernandez Portela

Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy Award for Excellence in Finance New Frontiers

Nicolás Kafati

Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy Excellence in Scholarship 

Brianna Dwyer

Robert and Lauren Steers Award for Excellence in Real Estate Finance

Austin Chew

International Business Awards

Interlink Capital Strategies Corporation International Business Scholar Award (outstanding performance in the study of international business)

Peter James Kerr

Ilkka A. Ronkainen Award for International Business and Marketing (high academic achievement in both the marketing and international business fields)

Daniel Moreno-Abascal

International Business Faculty Award for Academic Excellence 

Lauren Young

Management Awards

Elutions, Inc. Award for Academic Excellence in Leadership and Management Studies

Mia Schwartz

NFI Industries Award for Academic Excellence in Management Studies

Braden Padberg

William J. Usery Award for Academic Excellence in Negotiation and Mediation

Sara Warm

William J. Curtin Award for Academic Excellence in Leadership

Andrew Chan

Swift Glass Company Award for Academic Excellence in Innovation

Arun Lakshman

Ciarrocchi Award for Academic Excellence in Management Studies

Emily Graef

Management Faculty Award for Academic Excellence in Human Capital and Human Resource Management

Tiffani Torres

Marketing Awards

Johny K. Johansson International Marketing Award

Shelton Houser

IMAX Marketing Research Award

Bonnie Beiken

IMAX Marketing Scholar Award 

Katherine Miata

Marketing Faculty Award for Academic Excellence

Nikita Thummala

Operations and Analytics Awards

Deloitte Award for Operations and Analytics (service and high academic achievement)

Christian Agathis

PwC Award for Service and Scholarship in Operations and Analytics

Kevin Ogeka

Operations and Analytics Faculty Award for Academic Excellence

Dominic Vogel

Baratta Center Award for Global Engagement (commitment to making a positive impact on a global scale)

Charlotte Lee

Baratta Center Award for Academic Excellence in Global Supply Chain Management

Austin Chew

Faculty Awards 

Faculty Research Award 

Janet Gao, Lapeyre Family Associate Professor of Finance

Joseph F. LeMoine Award for Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Excellence

Karen Kitching, Teaching Professor of Accounting

Evelyn Williams, Professor of the Practice of Management; Academic Director of the Master’s in Management program

Dean’s Distinguished Service Award

Vishal Agrawal, Henry J. Blommer Family Endowed Chair in Sustainable Business; Academic Director of the Business of Sustainability Initiative

Peter W. Gonzalez Jr. Award for Excellence in Adjunct Faculty Teaching

Mark Rouchard, Adjunct Professor  

McDonough Student Body Government Professor of the Year Student Choice Award

Ronald Goodstein, Associate Professor of Marketing

Class of 2024
Undergraduate Program