BUIES CREEK - As a student at Campbell University in the mid-1980s, David Wharton didn’t think highly about his chances for success.
Today, he’s thankful his professors and advisors didn’t share that train of thought.
Friday, Wharton stood before an auditorium full of Lundy-Fetterman School of Business administrators, faculty, staff and students to accept the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni Award. The award culminated the school’s annual Alumni Convocation, held at Scott Concert Hall in the Taylor Bott Rogers Fine Arts Center.
Gene Lewis, a 1994 graduate of Campbell University, was presented with the Young Alumni Award during the presentation.
Wharton -- who was introduced by his advisor, Dr. Shahriar Mostashari, today the LFBS Associate Dean of External Relations -- shared the story of his introduction to Campbell as a high school senior with average grades and little money. Sharing his school work load with full time jobs while in college, Wharton said his grades suffered, and he considered dropping out more than a few times before getting advice from Mostashari and then-Dean, the late Thomas Falwell, to focus more on life after college and study trust management.
“They said, ‘You’re going to have to work harder, and you’re going to have to accept our help,” Wharton said. “And I’m forever thankful that I did.”
Today, Wharton is the Northeast Tennessee President of Regions Bank, overseeing all geographical operations in that area. His bank, which has 18 branches and 150 associates, oversees $600 million in loans and $1 billion in deposits. Wharton also serves on the Campbell University Presidential Board of Advisors.
Lewis, who was introduced by Campbell Trust Programs Director Jimmy Witherspoon, has served in various roles in institutional trust administration and sales for First Citizens Bank since graduation. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Campbell University Trust Education Foundation.
Campbell University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dwaine Greene said the awards ceremony not only honors alums who’ve gone on to successful careers, but shows new students where their hard work can lead.
“We’re not only here to teach you, but to make you better people,” Greene said. “(The honorees) exemplify that in a number of ways.”
The School of Business welcomed 153 freshmen at Friday’s Convocation.
Story: By Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications
Photo: David Wharton (left) accepts the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2011 from Campbell University Provost Dwaine Greene.