Paying internships forward: Bryan Becker wants students to have the same opportunities he had

April 15, 2015

Bryan Becker wants students to have the same opportunities he had at UM-Dearborn.

Bryan Becker (’69 B.B.A.) doesn’t usually like to play favorites. But he’ll make an exception in the case of Professor Emeritus Richard Czarnecki.

Becker was in the first UM-Dearborn class taught by Czarnecki—who retired in 1997 after 30 years as an accounting and finance professor—and considered him a favorite during his time at college.

“Because class sizes are so small I had the opportunity to get to know him pretty well,” Becker said.

He credits Czarnecki’s teachings with helping him stand out as an intern at Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young). That internship led to a 35-year career in public accounting and recruiting with the company.

During that time, Becker placed more than 100 UM-Dearborn students at Ernst & Young. For him, it was a way to pay forward his own college experience. “Internships helped me build and grow my career,” said Becker, a retired partner of The Hunter Group, an executive search firm in Bloomfield Hills. Not only was he able to gain valuable practical experience through the College of Business internship program, it also helped him pay for college.

Now, to honor Czarnecki, Becker and his wife, Colleen Burcar, contribute to the Richard E. Czarnecki Endowed Scholarship Fund. The fund annually awards a scholarship to an accounting or finance student with financial need. Becker hopes his contributions will help other students look back at their time at UM-Dearborn as fondly as he does.

That was the case for Nicole Burton (’14 B.B.A.). Burton was a scholarship recipient who graduated last December. “It benefited me by providing financial support during my time of need,” said Burton. “I am thankful those funds helped me complete my undergraduate education.”

Becker and Burcar support both UM-Dearborn and Burcar’s alma mater, Michigan State University—Becker likes to joke about the amount of competing school memorabilia inside their home—because they place a priority on giving back. In fact, Becker has been a UM-Dearborn advocate and volunteer for more than 40 years. He currently serves on the UM-Dearborn College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and Victors for UM-Dearborn Campaign Steering Committee, and is a two-time recipient of the Alumni of the Year award.

“My education and experiences at UM-Dearborn have been lifelong assets to me,” Becker said. “Throughout my career, I have recruited many UM-Dearborn graduates because I know how well prepared they are. I continue to stay actively involved and support the campus since I am committed to supporting its mission.”

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