Thomas College Students Win National Business Awards MacKenzie Riley Young | June 8, 2020

WATERVILLE, MAINE, June 2020 ­ —A group of Thomas College students competed and placed virtually against top national colleges in the Society for Advancement of Management National (SAM) Conference recently.

Students Kerri Abbott, of Starks, ME; Zach Gagne, of Augusta, ME; Brynn Patenaude, of Lyman, ME; Elliott Sharples, of Monmouth, ME; Dylan Veilleux, of Waterville, ME; and Tiffany White, of Barnstead, NH, placed third overall, first in both knowledge bowl and business pitch, second in extemporaneous speech, and third in written case.

SAM is the oldest, most premier business organization in the United States. Thomas College students competed against top schools like Stephen F. Austin State University, New England Institute of Technology, Florida State University, and Marshall University.

“What amazes me about this group was their ability to pivot and prepare under such stressful circumstances. Usually, the group would spend the final two weeks before the competition working on refining their presentations as a group. Due to the pandemic, we had to close the campus, so that was not an option,” said Thomas College professor and team advisor Dr. Dan Leland.

“As a business professor my number one goal is to prepare students for the real world. No one could plan for this. However, they came equipped and proved they can compete with any school in the country. They were determined to follow up last year’s success with a similar result. Being recognized by the competition committee is a humbling experience, and these students deserve it. I am so proud of them.”

Also, due to the switch to an online format, the team was inadvertently put in the open classification in written case study. So, this group of undergraduate students competed – and placed – in a graduate division for that specific competition, making the results even more impressive.

This is the third year in a row that Thomas College students participated and won big at the SAM competition. In 2019, students placed first in case study, first in Knowledge Bowl and second for overall recognition among the business programs at the conference. In 2018, students placed third overall in the competition.

Thomas College has deep roots in business – from its founding more than 125 years ago to the continued growth of its networks and successful alumni in the field. Its H. Allen Ryan School of Business continues and enhances the legacy of “Maine’s Business College” with its rigorous programming, career and alumni connections in the business world, and premiere accounting program.

About Thomas College: Thomas College has been preparing students for success in their personal and professional lives for over 125 years. Thomas College nurtures the unique potential within each student. Our Guaranteed Job Program, 3-year accelerated offerings in all undergraduate degrees (masters in the fourth year), individualized advising, career counseling, and our Innovation Centers in Business and Education meet a student’s determination to succeed with the direction, confidence, and tools to realize the highest version of themselves. From the classroom to community activities, or on the athletics field with our 18 varsity sports, Thomas College provides a personalized experience that prepares you for the workplace of tomorrow. Data reported by the New York Times ranks Thomas in the top 13 percent of all higher education institutions in the U.S. for upward mobility of its graduates, and U.S. News & World Report ranks us #8 among colleges in the Northeast. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at [email protected] or 207-859-1313. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.