STORIES AND ARTICLES
SDSU’s Top MIS Students and the Boomerang Effect
It is a tradition at SDSU for each major to honor their top student by inviting them to sit on the podium during commencement with their most influential faculty member.
Dr. Aaron Elkins (’03), Dr. Valerie Alexandra (’98) and Dr. Robert Briggs (’86) were all honored as the top management information systems (MIS) undergraduates during their respective graduation ceremonies. All three have returned to the Fowler College of Business in the role of professors
The most influential professor for Alexandra (Dr. Theo Addo) and for Elkins (Dr. Bruce Reinig) still teach at the Fowler College of Business.
The most influential professor for Briggs left the university many years ago, however, he maintains regular contact with SDSU professor emeritus, Dr. Richard Hatch. Hatch taught in the MIS department from 1975 until his retirement in 2000 and Briggs regards him as a mentor and a friend.
Briggs is a triple Aztec. In addition to his MIS degree, he also earned a bachelor’s degree in art history (’86) and his MBA (’88). He returned to SDSU as a professor because he was inspired by SDSU’s ascent toward becoming a top-ranked university. “When I was a student here in the ‘80s, SDSU was a regional commuter campus committed to excellent teaching,” he said. “Now, SDSU also conducts nearly one-third of the grant-funded research for the entire CSU system and aspires to contribute even more. I wanted to be a part of that. I came back to help build research programs based on real-world issues that actually make a difference in the lives of real people.”
Alexandra, now a professor of management, returned to SDSU for different reasons. “When I joined SDSU as a student, I felt that I became a part of a diverse, thriving, creative, and caring community. The professors I met in my undergraduate program have been incredible mentors and instrumental in my academic and professional careers,” she noted. “I came back to SDSU as a professor so that I could personally contribute on an everyday basis to the growth and development of our wonderful community.”
But Elkins, who is a top MIS researcher at the Fowler College of Business, summed up the sentiment for everyone by saying “I came back for the people. My colleagues are top educators and researchers who are as friendly and supportive as when I was a student here.”
Sidebar: In 2017, Addo and Reinig graced the commencement podium once again with Addo repeating as the most influential faculty member for the top MIS undergraduate. Reinig was chosen as the most influential faculty member by this year’s top MBA student.
And this year, they were joined on the podium by Alexandra, who was chosen as the most influential faculty member by the top management undergraduate.