Stetson’s Centurion Sales Program Receives $2.5M Endowment

Stetson University’s School of Business Administration has announced a $2.5 million gift from donor Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals to fully endow the Centurion Sales Program.

The endowment supports the Centurion Sales Program and ensures its place as a signature program in the School of Business Administration.

A group of people hold ribbon in front of Sales Center inside the Lynn Business Center
Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals ’73, holding the scissors, attended the 2017 ribbon-cutting for the Centurion Sales Program. His donation in honor of his father, Genaro Fernandez Centurion, made the new sales program possible. Standing to his right is Marilina Fernandez, to his left, Stetson President Wendy B. LIbby, and on the far left, John Riggs and beside him, Dean Neal Mero.

The sales program was made possible two years ago by a donation from Fernandez honoring his late father, Genaro Fernandez Centurion. Fernandez is a Stetson alumnus and highly successful entrepreneur who has owned two major businesses in Spain, Jazztel and Tele-Pizza, and led both companies into the Spanish stock exchange index, the IBEX 35.

“The Centurion Sales Program brings to the School of Business Administration the opportunity for our students to experience academic rigor in the classrooms and demonstrate that learning in the sales labs,” explained Neal Mero, PhD, dean and professor of management in the School of Business Administration. “This learning prepares sales students to have immediate impact on the organizations they will join upon graduation.”

Neal Mero, PhD

Since launching in the fall of 2017, 362 students have taken the Professional Selling and Communication course with 51 students graduating from the program and 98 percent securing job placement. Sales alumni have been employed by top tier companies including AT&T, Fidelity, Oracle, Gartner, TEKSystems, Smart Technologies and the LA Dodgers.

A recent Centurion Sales Program graduate, Dillon Galloway ’19, recently secured a job in business development with Oracle Net Suite, a leading cloud computing company.

“The Centurion Sales Program was extremely helpful for me in securing a job right out of college by teaching me key skills such as consultative sales, lead prospecting and the business acumen to be able to speak to C-Level employees,” explained Galloway. “The program gave me a huge leg up in my current position by giving me the tools to adapt in the ever-changing business world.”

portrait outside
John Riggs

“The growth of this program over the past two years has been exciting and the endowment will allow us to continue to build a world-class sales program,” said John Riggs, DBA, executive director of the Centurion Sales Program. “As evidenced by our sales alumni employment, our students receive core sales skills in a real-world environment that translates into effective long-term team members in the job market.”

The Centurion Sales Program bridges the gap between the classroom and real-world performance. The program offers interactive courses in cutting-edge video sales labs, professional development opportunities and a far-reaching community of faculty, alumni and partners committed to sales excellence. Recently, James Fyles, assistant professor of practice in sales and marketing at Stetson, received the Innovation in Teaching award presented by the Sales Education Foundation for his innovative sales curriculum design within the Centurion Sales Program.

-Marie Dinklage