GEICO CEO Tony Nicely Keynotes 5th Annual Alumni Celebration

It may have been rainy and gloomy outside but inside the Mason Inn’s ballroom, excitement and anticipation filled the air. On September 30, nearly 200 School of Business (School of Business) alumni and guests gathered for the 5th Annual Alumni Celebration. Sponsored by The Martin Agency, the evening included a networking reception, recognition of Distinguished Alumni Award winners, the announcement of the Emerging Business Leader Award winners and the Young Alumni award winners, and a Fortune 500 CEO as keynote speaker.

“What a memorable event! The essence of what School of Business is about was captured in that single event,” exclaimed Jorge Haddock, Dean of the School of Business.

GEICO CEO, President, and Chairman, O.M. (Tony) Nicely served as keynote speaker and delivered a message of perseverance and overcoming difficulties. Noting that in a down economy, it’s important to go beyond good service to your customers. Focus should also be put on training and developing employees. According to Nicely, GEICO has not laid off an employee since 1976.

At the end of the evening, Dean Haddock along with George Mason President Alan Merten and John Adams, CEO of the Martin Agency, presented Nicely with the first Lifetime Achievement Medal conferred by School of Business. While not an alumnus of the School of Business, Nicely served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the George Mason University Foundation and is the father of a Mason alumna. In response to receiving the award, Nicely expressed his gratitude and pride in George Mason.Nicely-medal

“It was my honor to present Mr. Nicely with the first School of Business Lifetime Achievement Medal, an honor we will continue to bestow upon executives who, like Mr. Nicely, model ethical leadership, business acumen, and dedication to economic impact throughout their careers,” said Dean Haddock. “We try to instill in our students ethics, leadership, and strong business principles so that they may successfully contribute and shape our global economy. Mr. Nicely’s strong leadership, business savvy and charitable efforts made him a natural selection to be the first recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Medal. His dedication to and leadership of GEICO should be used as the standard for success.”

The evening was a celebration of School of Business alumni and students. Alumni John Niehoff, Harold Rauner, Leslie Alden, Eric Cevic, and Dianne Guensberg were recognized as 2010 recipients of Mason Distinguished Alumni Awards. The winners of the Young Alumni Awards were announced with Bhupesh Wadhawan, BS ’02, receiving the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Current School of Business students Julie Hudson, a Mason MBA student and Johnny Amin, a junior majoring in accounting each received an Emerging Business Leader Award presented by School of Business’s Alumni Chapter.

For more about the 5th Annual Alumni Celebration and its award winners, visit

Visit our Flickr page to view photos from the Alumni Celebration.

George Mason University School of Business

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10 percent of all AACSB accredited business schools, the School of Business is one of only 25 percent of business schools accredited in both business and accounting by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.




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