Two Michigan Ross Alumni Recognized For Their Outstanding Contributions to the Ross Community


Michigan Ross honored Cathy Bessant, BBA '82, and Mark Petroff, MBA '98, with annual alumni awards this month for their outstanding service to the Michigan Ross community and exceptional attainments in their career fields.

After being nominated by their peers, Bessant and Petroff each received a prestigious award during the school’s recent Reunion Weekend celebration. Here is a closer look at the award categories and the deserving recipients behind them:

Cathy Bessant, BBA '82 is the recipient of the 2019 David D. Alger Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding work in the field of financial technology and her consistent involvement at Michigan Ross. Currently serving as the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, Bessant is no stranger to success. This year, she celebrates her third consecutive honor as one of American Banker’s “Most Powerful Women in Banking.”

She also appears at No. 2 on Institutional Investor magazine’s annual Tech 40 list of 2017, No. 1 among OUTstanding LGBT+ Ally Executives in the Financial Times list of 2018, and on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list of 2017.

In addition to her incredible professional achievements, Bessant is recognized for her work in the community. At Bank of America, she has focused her efforts this year on helping people with disabilities. 

At Ross, Bessant continues her work as an active contributor and volunteer, offering mentorship and one-on-one coaching to students in the Ross Alumni-in-Residence program, and serving on the Ross School Advisory Board. 

She also accompanied a group of students to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a global practicum course led by Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean of Business.


Established in 1989, the David D. Alger Alumni Achievement Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of Michigan Ross whose attainments in their professional field have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the school, and benefit to their fellow citizens.

The award was named in honor of its first recipient, David D. Alger, MBA '68. David was a dynamic, involved, passionate member of the Michigan Business School community and a member of the school’s Visiting Committee.


Mark Petroff, MBA '98 is the recipient of the Bert Wertman Alumni Service Award for his incredible service to Michigan Ross. Petroff currently serves as president and CEO of OneMagnify, a leader in marketing and analytics services, and still dedicates a significant amount of time to stay involved at Ross.

Petroff has mentored students through the Michigan Ross Alumni-in-Residence program, participated in the Michigan Business Challenge as a judge, and participated in the Leadership Crisis Challenge. He was also a member of the University of Michigan Greater Detroit Campaign Leadership Council.

Prior to OneMagnify, Petroff was a partner in the Financial Advisory Services practice of Deloitte. He served as the global leader for the practice's automotive industry segment, as well as a general securities principal in Deloitte's investment banking group, Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC.

Petroff also served as a commissioned officer in the U.S Navy’s Submarine Force.

In addition to his volunteer work with Michigan Ross and the University of Michigan, Petroff is active in many charitable and professional organizations, including the Commissioning Committee for the USS Detroit (LCS-7) and the Automotive Hall of Fame. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.


The Bert F. Wertman Alumni Service Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna for their outstanding service to Michigan Ross and or the University of Michigan as a whole. The award was established in honor of Bert F. Wertman, who served for more than 60 years as president of the Class of 1928. Through his leadership and caring, the class remained a cohesive and vital group and held a record number of continuous reunions.