Silberman Hall of Fame Gala

New inductees into the Silberman Hall of Fame are chosen for their accomplishments in leadership, social change, and innovation, which were the ideals that Buddy Silberman, the College's namesake held in highest regard. This year's inductees exemplify the best parts of Silberman's vision and have employed their drive and determination in order to succeed in the business world and to excel in the world of service.

  The 2022 Silberman Hall of Fame inductees are:

Richard Brenner '73

Rich Brenner has more than fifty years of experience, both as a board member and member of management. He founded The Brenner Group, Inc.® in 1987, and served as its CEO until the company was sold to Armanino LLP in 2016. The Brenner Group was one of the oldest and largest firms of its type in Silicon Valley, and assisted more than 2,000 companies in strategy and valuation. 
Brenner also founded Bridge Capital Holdings, where he is Director Emeritus, a former member of the Board of Directors and former chair of the Audit committee. In 2016, Bridge Bank was acquired by Western Alliance Bankcorp (NASDAQ: “WAL”). 
He is, or has served, as a board member at Airja, Inc (chair), Molecular Decisions, Inc. (chair), True Global Ventures (general partner), Woodside Capital Partners (chair emeritus), e Nicotine, Inc., Sandstone Diagnostics, Inc., Affymax, Inc., and Chadmoore Wireless Group.  
Brenner is an active leader and has served in many roles for the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Brenner is especially proud of his connection to the organization. He was a Scout in his youth and reconnected  when his Eagle Scout son entered cub scouting in 1986. He has had many honors in Scouting, including the NESA Distinguished Service Award; Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver, Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow, Baden Powell Society Member, Honor Society Member and Second Century Society Member.

Brenner is an active alumnus and volunteer at FDU.He serves on the executive committee of the Silberman School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, chairs the SCB Student Endowment Fund Investment Committee and the SCB Council of Ambassadors. He is also a past chair of the Churchill Club and was a volunteer disaster responder for the American Red Cross. He has  been honored by the American Society of Fund-Raising Professionals with the Philanthropist of the Year Volunteer Award.

Rich and his wife, Beth live in San Diego, CA, and are proud of his Eagle Scout son, Jim, his daughter-in-law, Alexis, and their granddaughter, Lily. He holds a BS in accounting with a minor in management information systems from the Silberman College of Business, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Bobby Stern '08

Bobby Stern is the President of Riviera Hospitality Group, an innovative catering and events company redefining the catering industry in New York City and beyond.

Since the start of Riviera in 2012, Stern has managed the sales, marketing, and production of 4000+ immersive events. His culinary experiences have garnered the attention of Fortune 500 companies and luxury brands, including Nike, Google, Disney, PepsiCo, Forbes, Univision, and Tommy Hilfiger, and won him many accolades like BizBash’s Caterer of the Year award, and Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 2016 nomination. Stern’s key to success is that he adapts his business model to meet the needs of the surrounding community. When the COVID19 pandemic began, he worked with the Department for the Aging and Department of Sanitation in New York City, to safely deliver 650,000 meals a week to homebound seniors. The next year, he partnered with the US Military to provide 13,000 Afghan refugees with 24/7 food services at a NJ military base.

As a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson’s Silberman College of Business, Stern strives to give back to the institution that laid his foundation as a young entrepreneur. He has invested in the next generation of FDU students with $100,000+ in contributions made towards endowments and scholarships including Uncle Billy Stern Believe and Achieve Scholarship, Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, and the Stern Professional Development Program Student Fund.

In addition to generous donations, Stern lends his professional expertise to FDU events and committees. In positions including Chair of Council of Alumni Engagement, Charter Day 2022 Gala Planning Committee Member, and Hall of Fame Gala Planning Committee Member, Stern continually uses his passion for event planning to create positive alumni experiences. His most recent alumni event “Cars on the Lawn” has become a biannual car show on the lawn of Hennessy Hall to raise money for the Silberman College of Business. In regard to his favorite place at FDU, the Silberman College of Business, he has presented in classes, been named one of the 50 Under 50 Alumni Business Leaders, and sits on the current executive board of advisors.

Whether it is a luxury client, unprecedented emergency, or an FDU event, Stern continues to be the innovation that the catering and event industry needs.

Maroa C. Velez '77

 Maroa C. Velez is a successful business executive and philanthropist. She currently serves as general partner of Brown Brothers Harriman, a firm she joined 27 years ago. During this time, she has held a variety of roles. Her first was as the head of Audit. In 2000, she assumed the role of comptroller and was promoted to partner in 2008, with leadership responsibility for service delivery, which includes global operations and client services. Her team of 4000 delivers excellence in banking, investment management, private banking and investor services to the firm’s multinational roster of private clients, banks and asset management organizations, from 16 sites in seven countries.

Velez has served on many of BBH’s oversight committees. One of her favorites was her co-chair role on the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Global Inclusion Council, which set strategy on initiatives that advanced DEI goals and expanded the firm’s inclusive culture. Prior to joining BBH, Maroa worked for Deloitte, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield in roles focused on leading risk and Audit functions. 

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Velez supports programs which help the needy, provide opportunities for diverse populations, advance climate resiliency, and improve health. She been an avid supporter of the programs of the United Way of NY, Massachusetts and Hudson County, which are focused on helping the impoverished, especially women and children. She is a member of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society and has been honored with the UW’s Women Who Make a Difference Award. In the areas of health and equitable health care for all, Velez is a proud member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Medical Center. She is a loyal supporter of many institutions, especially Fairleigh Dickinson University, from which she graduated magna cum laude in 1977.

Velez was born in Cuba and is fluent in Spanish. Her family fled the communist regime in 1962 to begin a new life in the United States. Her parents are inspirational to her for their drive, resiliency, and integrity. While the family experienced challenges creating their new life in a new country with unique culture and new language, they also appreciate being able to develop their dreams in America while keeping alignment with Cuban culture. Velez lives in Montville, NJ, and is married to Tom Vurno with whom she shares two sons, Charles and Tom. 

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank with global reach. They pride themselves on having deep roots. As a part of a network of 85,000 people strong who move, lend, invest, and protect money for customers and clients across 40 countries, the bank collaborates with over 25 top companies to deliver an array of consumer and small business credit card programs to fit any lifestyle in the U.S. market. Barclays operates with energy and imagination, championing innovation and sustainability, to make a positive and enduring difference, to take pride in leaving things better than they found them.