Sarah Gardial with award winners Mark Buthman, Jon Raftis, and Kevin Velovitch
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The UI Tippie College of Business recognized several outstanding alumni at its annual event in Chicago, Illinois, at the JW Marriott on Tuesday, February 12. The event was part of a luncheon for University of Iowa business alumni in the Chicago area. Honorees included Alum of the Year Mark Buthman (BBA82) and Young Alums of the Year Jon Raftis (BBA10/MBA15), and Kevin Velovitch (BBA12). Photos from the event are available in a Tippie Facebook album.

Historically, the college has recognized one winner for each award, but this year felt that multiple nominees deserved the Young Alum of the Year Award due to their collaborative efforts on the college’s Young Alumni Board. 

Finance alumnus and retired CFO of Kimberly-Clark, Mark Buthman received the Alum of the Year Award in recognition of his service to the college. Buthman was an active and engaged member of the Tippie Advisory Board (TAB). Buthman, in partnership with Human Resources leadership at Kimberly-Clark, shared the company’s efforts and his personal experience with benefits of building more diverse and inclusive leadership teams. In addition, Buthman participated (on the request of Tippie Dean Sarah Gardial) in a conference coordinated by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) on the benefits of diversity of faculty and staff in business education.

Buthman has returned to Tippie as a popular guest speaker and has encouraged fellow alumni to be more involved on campus. Most recently, Buthman was instrumental in helping the college establish recruiting relationships with outside companies. In his retirement, he is devoted to mentoring finance professionals, especially those working in CFO roles. His engagement with the college, his dedication to the professional development of our students, alumni and other finance professionals make him a worthy recipient of this award.

Finance and MBA alumnus, Jon Raftis received the Young Alum of the Year Award in recognition of his service to the college. Raftis served on the college’s Young Alumni Board (YAB) for five years and assumed an unofficial “chair” role on the board. This leadership position was critical to formalizing the board’s organizational structure. In taking the lead, Raftis was able to successfully lay the foundation for the YAB and its programs which include a mentoring program and their annual fundraising efforts.

Raftis also co-founded and served six years on the Vaughan Institute’s Young Alumni Board. As an alumnus with a certificate in Risk Management and Insurance, Raftis has been very dedicated to ensuring that students in the program have a great student experience as well as access to industry mentors. He has been diligent about serving as a resource to students whether they are seeking internships or permanent placement in the industry. 

After graduation, Raftis began work in the Des Moines area where he completed his Iowa MBA in 2015. He currently works as an account executive at The Dana Company in Des Moines, IA. He holds professional designations including: CPCU, RPLU, and ARM.

Finance and management alumnus, Kevin Velovitch also received the Young Alum of the Year Award. He was elected to the college’s Young Alumni Board (YAB) shortly after graduation in 2012. It was at this time that the bylaws were updated to reflect a formalized executive board and committee structure and Velovitch stepped into the board’s leadership role. During his tenure in that role, fundraising efforts increased, the number of applications for the board grew significantly, and the mentor program expanded. Velovitch currently works as a manager within the International Network Planning department at United Airlines in Chicago, IL.

The college’s Alum of the Year and Young Alum of the Year awards were established in 2014 by Dean Sarah Gardial to recognize alumni that are heavily involved in the life of the college. “We have many alumni who are very engaged whether it be through their service on advisory boards, their assistance in our recruiting efforts, or their support for our programs. This award provides an opportunity for us to thank them for their exemplary service.”