by Ward Mullens, Published March 29, 2011
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University alums Robert Skandalaris, owner of Quantum Ventures of Michigan, LLC, and Steven Tapper, partner and vice president of Tapper's Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, have been named as the commencement speakers for the dual April 16 ceremonies. The nominations must be approved by the Board of Regents.
Tapper will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony and Skandalaris will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Both graduated from EMU in 1976 and will receive honorary degrees.
The EMU commencement ceremonies take place at the Convocation Center.
Tapper is a partner and vice president of Tapper's Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, based in West Bloomfield. Prior to joining his family's business, Tapper studied at The Center for Creative Studies in Detroit.
In 1973, he spent the year living and working on a Kibbutz in Israel before returning home to complete his undergraduate degree at Eastern Michigan University. Tapper received a dual degree in education with an emphasis in fine arts education, including a focus on ceramic design and photography.
"As a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, I use the knowledge and experience that I gained while earning my degree in fine arts and education to guide me in my career choices," Tapper said. "Each day, I use the skill sets developed through my education as I move forward," Tapper said.
Skandalaris is the principal and chief executive officer of Quantum Ventures of Michigan, LLC, a privately-held merchant banking firm specializing in the acquisition and development of middle-market companies. Quantum currently has investments in various industries, including distribution, software, specialty chemicals, industrial equipment manufacturing, financial services, digital media and various interactive providers.
In 1989, Skandalaris co-founded Michigan's largest private bank holding company, which was subsequently sold to Private Bancorp, Inc., in 2005.
He joined Prudential-Bache Securities in 1982, where he eventually became senior vice president of investments and a member of the firm's Chairman's Counsel. After receiving a master's degree in accounting from EMU in 1976, Skandalaris began his career as a Certified Public Accountant in the tax department at Touche Ross & Co.