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Published: March 06, 2014

Two UT Alumni Honored with Entrepreneurship and Lifetime Achievement Awards

University of Tampa alumni and entrepreneurs Benson Riseman, president and CEO of BENSEA Enterprises, and Melanie Moore, co-founder of Elizabeth & Clarke, were honored at the UT Entrepreneurship Center’s fourth annual Business and Entrepreneur Alumni Awards event.

The event was held on Feb. 26, and approximately 150 people attended the ceremony to network and celebrate fellow alumni at UT’s Martinez Athletics Center. The purpose of the event was to recognize the accomplishments of UT alumni who have started their own companies.

Riseman, a 1978 UT graduate, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the president and CEO of BENSEA Enterprises, an entrepreneurial think tank and consultancy established in 2009 to transform ideas into independent, free-standing businesses. Prior to founding BENSEA Enterprises, Riseman co-founded Green Dot Corp. — which invented and brought to market the reloadable prepaid debit card — and served as executive vice president of retail strategy until the company went public in 2010. Before co-founding Green Dot, Riseman had a 20 year career in radio broadcasting working in local, national and network managerial/sales positions.

Melanie Moore, a 2006 UT graduate, was presented with the Entrepreneurship Center's Young Entrepreneur Award. Moore is co-founder of Elizabeth & Clarke, an online retailer specializing in high-quality, affordable women’s shirts. After graduation, Moore worked briefly as an investment banker. Then, before co-founding Elizabeth & Clarke, she spent time at Bill Blass and started a fashion company called ToVieFor.

The event was sponsored again this year by UT alumnus Dr. Alan Shoopak, president of Orthodontic Specialists of Florida and previous winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The event traditionally precedes the student-run Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (SEEC), which was held on Feb. 27. UT alumni, Ray Ingersoll of the Ingersoll Group, gave a keynote addresses at the conference.

The event was coordinated by the UT Entrepreneurship Center, which is currently constructing a new state-of-the-art home for its center, to be completed in Fall 2015.

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