Turning Numbers into Colors
After 37 years, Deb Salvucci, professor and dean of business, celebrates her retirement.
Last Thursday evening, the patio outside of the Leo J. Meehan School of Business was abuzz, as more than 150 people gathered to celebrate the retirement of Deb Salvucci, longtime professor of business administration and founding dean of the Leo J. Meehan School of Business.
Former and current students paid tribute to Salvucci for her mentorship, support and lasting influence on their lives.
“She was warm and personable. She turned numbers into colors for me,” recalled Kim Daniels ’90, who as a first-generation college student was encouraged by Salvucci to major in accounting and is now a senior vice president of corporate tax at Fidelity.
Since mentoring Daniels more than three decades ago, Salvucci has continued to guide and encourage Stonehill students. Britney Savage ’23, also a first-generation student and current marketing major, shared how she first met Salvucci one afternoon as she was leaving Duffy Academic Center and Salvucci was entering.
“…She recognized I had an advisor request form in my hand, and she immediately said to me, ‘If you’re looking for one, I’d love to help you out.’ I met with her the following day, and it honestly felt like fate,” said Savage. “Debra was invested in wanting to know about me, what I do at the school, and what my interests were. She saw potential in me from the start and told me to get involved because she knew I could make some type of change on this campus.”
Salvucci’s impact on Savage didn’t end there. She also hired her as a student employee in her office and, most recently, helped her obtain an internship at W.B. Mason by connecting Savage with the company’s president and CEO Leo J. Meehan ’75.
Meehan, a Stonehill trustee, and Salvucci became fast friends when it was announced that the new school of business would be named for Meehan and that Salvucci would be its founding dean. Meehan knew she was the perfect person to lead the school. “Deb, you are a star. And you are our star. We will never be able to replace you, and we will never stop missing you,” Meehan said.
After Salvucci thanked the many students, alumni, colleagues, family and friends in attendance, she recalled how she was also a first-generation college student and reflected on her path to Stonehill.
Intending to major in education and become a teacher, Salvucci was encouraged by her father to study business with the hope of having more employment opportunities. While she didn’t know much about business, Salvucci followed her father’s advice and majored in accounting. She soon discovered she had a knack for it. After graduating, Salvucci pursued a career in public accounting and then went into the financial services industry. Several years later, her former auditing professor recommended her when he had heard that Stonehill was looking for someone to teach an accounting course.
That was in 1985. In the 37 years since, Salvucci has chaired the Business Administration department and led the College through the rigorous AACSB accreditation process, which elevated the College’s standing at a regional and national level. And when the College transitioned to two schools, Salvucci was named the founding dean of the Leo J. Meehan School of Business.
Additionally, Salvucci has also received the Hegarty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stonehill as well as the Massachusetts Society of CPA’s Outstanding Educator of the Year in 2011.
“Though she has had many roles and titles, Deb’s work as a professor and the needs of her students have always come first,” said President John Denning, C.S.C. “You have long been a true example of Light and Hope for our community, and on behalf of the College, I want to thank you for your hard work and longstanding dedication to excellence.”