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Press Release for Thursday, June 11, 2009

UNF Management Professor Inducted Into SIFE Hall of Fame

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

Fred Pragasam, a management professor at the University of North Florida, was recently inducted into the Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame for his work over the last decade with UNF Students In Free Enterprise. The award was presented last month during the SIFE National Competition in Philadelphia.

Pragasam has been an instructor in the Coggin College of Business at UNF since 1999, when he acquired the responsibility of the struggling SIFE program as its faculty advisor. Under his leadership, the UNF SIFE team began to improve and has since won 11 consecutive regional championships and placed in the top 20 teams nationally for the past four years.

“This honor is bestowed upon relatively few professors and Fred’s induction into the SIFE Hall of Fame is indicative of the high regard that the Coggin College holds him,” said Dr. John McAllister, dean of the Coggin College at UNF.

The UNF SIFE team once again finished in the top 16 teams in the nation during the 2009 SIFE National Competition. The team’s projects on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, business ethics and environmental sustainability made a tremendous impact in Jacksonville schools, the community and beyond.

With Pragasam’s guidance, UNF SIFE also took on several new projects this year, including the Empowered program, where students worked with single mothers and immigrant families in the Jacksonville are to provide necessary skills for them to prepare for the workforce.

The organization also took on an E-cycling project at Sam’s Club to provide an accessible location to recycle electronics instead of having them sent to our local landfills. As a result, UNF SIFE helped decrease the amount of toxic waste impacting our local environment.

But it’s not all about winning competitions for the Coggin College professor but seeing his students’ lives transformed. “SIFE is about changing the lives of others and preparing students to become great leaders,” he said. “The best measurement of success for me is seen in the quality and achievements of graduates from the UNF SIFE program.”

Pragasam has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007 and the Champion of SIFE Award in 2002, one of six to be nominated in the United States.

Additionally, he was among 18 awardees of a Fulbright-Hay Seminar Abroad Program on economic development in Korea and Taiwan, which allowed him to visit government and industrial establishments as well as meet with various officials. He was also awarded a Program Development Grant by UNF in 2001 to develop a study abroad to India.

Pragasam earned a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. He received both a master’s degree in history and political science and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science in Madras, India.