Costello College of Business celebrates more than 1,200 graduates


The Donald G. Costello College of Business at George Mason University celebrated 1,204 graduates—the first spring graduates of the newly named Costello College of Business. 812 undergraduate students, 273 graduate students, and 119 certificate students were recognized at a special ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at EagleBank Arena. These new graduates join a Costello College of Business network of more than 38,750 alumni, 70% of whom live in the Northern Virginia region.


Ajay Vinzé
Dean Ajay Vinzé addresses students

Dean Ajay Vinzé welcomed the first full-year group to graduate from the Costello College of Business and their families, acknowledging the village of supporters who encouraged and supported the students and congratulating students. “As Costello students, be confident you are equipped and you are ready! You are ready to take on any challenge—whether your aspiration is to become an entrepreneur, manage a small business, or climb the corporate ladder and march towards the C-Suite,” said Dean Vinzé. “Through your degree program at the Costello College, you have become well versed in the language of accounting, information systems, operations management, finance, management, and marketing—I have every confidence that the education you have received here at George Mason University will enable you to lead anywhere.”

Ilyas Hamidzada
Student Speaker Ilyas Hamidzada

Graduating management senior, Ilyas Hamidzada, served as the 2024 student speaker. During his time at George Mason, Hamidzada participated in the Costello Honor’s Program, founded the university’s Real Estate Association, and served as a student advocate on the Costello College of Business’ first Student Leadership Council. “Today is a very important day in our lives, we not only celebrate our individual accomplishments, but also the collective impact we have had on the George Mason community. Together, we have been part of the transformation of the School of Business into the new Costello College of Business, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations of students,” said Hamidzada. “We have come from different paths, overcome various hurdles, and embraced change along the way. But through it all, we found our home here at George Mason.”

Costello College of Business Alumni Chapter President Pam Maple, MBA ’09 welcomed the new graduates into the Alumni Association. A dedicated Mason Patriot and the founder and president of Zero Energy, Maple is an accomplished entrepreneur and leader in the field of sustainable and renewable energy. Maple encouraged

Pam Maple, MBA ’09
Pam Maple, MBA ’09

students to continue their personal and professional journeys with the Alumni Chapter by coming back for events, helping students secure internships and scholarships or serving as an ambassador. “Even though it has been more than a decade since I graduated from the College of Business, I continue to stay involved with George Mason University because the alumni have much to offer the student population,” said Maple. “As a graduate of the college and a professional, this is my version of paying it forward.”

During the ceremony, students and faculty award recipients were also acknowledged. Graduate Student Academic Awards were presented to the graduates who, in the judgment of the faculty, have demonstrated overall excellence in academic performance in their degree program. Recipients included: Jimmy Benoit and James Grace, Outstanding Students for in-person MBA; Abdul Khandker, Outstanding Student for online MBA; Lena Azizi, Outstanding Student in Master of Science in Accounting; Katherine Kacher, Outstanding Student in Master of Science in Business Analytics; John M. Walton, Outstanding Student in Master of Science in Finance; Laura Johnston and Jennifer Nelson, Outstanding Students in Master of Science in Management; and Tassos McCarthy, Outstanding Student in Master of Science in Real Estate Development. In addition, students were acknowledged for receiving the new Costello College of Business Specialized Master’s Programs Citizenship Award, which recognizes a graduate student who has exemplified exceptional leadership, volunteerism, mentorship, collaboration, innovation, and professionalism within their program. Recipients included: Maya Didier, Master of Science in Accounting; Himaja Suryadevara, Master of Science in Business Analytics; and Melvin Reyes, Master of Science in Finance. 

Undergraduate Student Academic Awards were presented to graduating seniors, nominated by the faculty and selected for outstanding scholastic achievement, maturity, and excellence in pursuit of their academic and professional career for each concentration. Recipients included: Jae Hoon Jeong, Outstanding Student in Accounting; Tina M. Pham, Outstanding Student in Business Analytics; John M. Walton, Outstanding Student in Finance; Sebastian Florero, Outstanding Student in Financial Planning and Wealth Management; Vivian L. Vong, Outstanding Student in Information Systems and Operations Management; Nada Conway, Outstanding Student in Management; Thomas Jansen, Outstanding Student in Management Information Systems; Tia N. Saah, Outstanding Student in Marketing; and Emily Lauren Mahoney, Outstanding Student in Operations and Supply Chain Management

This year’s faculty members who were designated as Outstanding Professor in their area were also acknowledged. Faculty included Ethan Kinory (Accounting), Sabari Karmegam (Business Analytics), Robert Pierce (Business Foundations), Steve Pilloff (Finance), Heather Vough (Management), Kumar Mehta (Management Information Systems), Sharaya Jones (Marketing), and Tim Porter (Operations and Supply Chain Management).

Prior to the Costello College of Business Degree Celebration, George Mason University celebrated its 58th University

President Gregory Washington
President Gregory Washington

Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 9, graduating a class of nearly 11,000 degree and certificate earners from 114 countries, 50 states—the largest class in the state of Virginia, with approximately 25 percent of patriots being first generation graduates in their families. 

“All of our graduates are earning a degree from a university whose impact and stature literally rises day-by-day. Your final year here was the year George Mason University was actually recognized as one of America’s 50 best public institutions. We’re also the best institution in Virginia for mobility and for social innovation,” said George Mason University President Gregory Washington. “We’ve known this for some time, but now the nation and the world have caught up. I can honestly say that it is truly Mason’s time.”

George Mason Alumni Association President Christine Landoll, BS Accounting ’89, MS Taxation ’92
George Mason Alumni Association President Christine Landoll, BS Accounting ’89, MS Taxation ’92

Costello College of Business alumna and George Mason Alumni Association President Christine Landoll, BS Accounting ’89, MS Taxation ’92, welcomed the new graduates to a network of more than 235,000 alumni worldwide, encouraging the new alumni to give back to George Mason by speaking in the classroom, mentoring students, attending events, and considering giving. Landoll reminded students to leverage their alumni network as they continue on their journey. “With a network of 235,000, there are likely alumni in any industry you join. Most likely any company you join. Any place that you live….Please take your Patriot Pride with you wherever you go, enthusiastically telling your Mason story to anyone who will listen,” said Landoll. “Alumni are absolutely one of the greatest assets that a university has.”