2021-2022 School of Business Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate award recipients

May 9, 2022 - VCU School of Business

Student of the Year
Gautam Ravandur

Gautam is an outstanding honors student, with a GPA of 3.85 and continued accolades from his instructors. In addition to his exceptional academic performance, he is actively involved in VCU’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) Business Fraternity. As Vice President of Finance for AKPsi, he has managed the organization’s operating budget and developed videos to aid in learning about financial topics. Gautam also currently serves as a Financial Analyst for Tech Sector in the Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP) at VCU. Because of what he has learned in this role, he has been able to help his fellow students begin investing and the stock market. Upon graduation, Gautam is looking forward to entering the corporate finance arena.

Distinguished Service Award
Connor Riely

Connor demonstrates excellence in the classroom and beyond. He is extremely proud of the work he has done to found and lead the VCU Blockchain club as President. Connor is also very active in helping grow the cryptocurrency community in Richmond, VA. Upon graduation, he plans to delve deeper into his work within the crypto community by finding different opportunities to capitalize on, helping others to learn more about the arena, and by networking at crypto conferences. Overall, Connor’s plan is to “stay curious” and continue to learn!

Davis Radcliffe Insurance Award
John Eshler

Five years ago, John Eshler opened his own business; a mobile coffee company called GroundUp while attending Reynolds Community College full-time. After earning his associates degree John chose to continue his education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He made the difficult decision to close GroundUp coffee to focus on his bachelor’s coursework. Two momentous events occurred during his first semester— John became a father and the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Around the same time, John accepted a remote underwriter technician position with Kinsale Insurance which later led to a full-time position. In December 2021 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in finance degree with a concentration in risk management and insurance. When asked about his experience at VCU he says, “My time here has been great, but it's been a bit of a challenge due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, I was able to overcome those difficulties while maintaining a high GPA and being involved in organizations that I’m passionate about.” John is the immediate past president of Gamma Iota Sigma fraternity, and he currently works for Kinsale as an associate underwriter in the commercial property division.