NORTH CANTON  With the holding of the 51st annual Business Club Luncheon on March 23 was a day of prestige and honor for the DeVille School of Business at Walsh University. More than 300 business leaders, community organization members, Walsh University faculty and students gathered in the Barrette Business and Community Center to award Business Club scholarships to deserving students, celebrate the school of business and hear the featured presentation from Mark T. Smucker, president and CEO of the international food industry giant the J.M. Smucker company. 

As one of the institution’s first majors offered, business is a flagship program at Walsh. The business club has a long and rich history and is one of the university’s oldest and largest organizations. They travel the country to learn about business, raise money and help causes such as the Akron-Canton Food Bank. And of course they organize the Business Club Luncheon every year.

A primary cause for the annual event is to raise scholarship dollars for students of business at Walsh, but it is also an invaluable networking and learning opportunity for students, alumni, faculty and the greater community. President of the Business Club and a senior at Walsh set to graduate this spring, Justin Maroni was given the opportunity to host the luncheon and introduce the speakers, including University president Richard Jusseaume and Mark Smucker.

"This is a great opportunity to bring business leaders, Walsh alumni, and our faculty together and connect students with professionals in the community and allow them to network, and just provide an opportunity to bring in a CEO of a major company to speak and offer some words of wisdom," said Maroni.

This year president and the sixth-generation CEO of the J.M. Smucker Company was added to the list of high-profile featured presenters, which include executives from Twitter, Delta Airlines and American Greetings to name a few. The list even includes some world leaders.

Smucker’s presentation was titled "Secret Ingredients for Success in a Rapidly Changing Environment,"and he spoke about the values, philosophies and techniques, that has guided his family’s company for 121 years and how they are adapted as markets and consumers change.

"We have been very lucky over the year to have some very prestigious speakers, and Mark Smucker is no exception," said Teresa Fox, Vice President of Marketing at Walsh. "We’re very delighted to have him. We’re just really fortunate to have fortune 500 companies like Smuckers in this area who are willing to come and speak to students. It’s a wonderful asset for the community."

After Smucker’s presentation, while lunch was winding down, it was time recognize the winners of the DeVille School of Business scholarships. The recipients were made eligible through an application process demonstrating their involvement with the School of Business. This year the scholarships were awarded to Justin Maroni and Danica Steiner.

Although winning scholarship money, it is perhaps the learning experience of Smucker’s speech that stuck with Maroni the most.

"For being such a old company, they really do a lot to change and innovate," said Maroni. "It’s very clear in his speech that he understands the world is changing and wants to integrate that in to the company, be close with his employees and really inspire that sort of innovation."

With 350 attendees the luncheon was at capacity, which goes to show that even after half a century The DeVille School of Business Club Luncheon is still growing and promoting all the work Walsh Business students do.