Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alumnus Takes Ownership in His Community and Alma Mater

Jason Wheeler '99, '03M chose to pursue a career in finance not just because he found the subject matter interesting, he also wanted to help others. Learning to appreciate the value of a dollar at a young age while witnessing his parents scrape by, he acknowledged the lack of personal finance education available in the first 12 years of school. He knew that this was an important subject to learn, and he was good at it.

Jason and his wife, Ashley
Two separate, but consequential events presented themselves while Jason was a student. The first was a job posting through which he met his current business partner at Pathfinder Wealth Consulting. Initially working together at a different firm, the two quickly connected and formed the partnership after Jason had completed his MBA. They committed to serving the local community; a philosophy that is at the core of the company's business model.

The second significant event took place when Jason had nearly completed his MBA. He was approached about joining the alumni Board of Directors. As his first volunteer role with the university, Jason recalls, "I received an education in higher education." His guidance and support proved instrumental with the association, helping it to achieve higher levels of alumni engagement.

Jason, as an alumni leader, was selected to participate on the search committee for not only the Alumni Relations Director in 2007, but also the Athletics Director position in 2010 and recently, the search for UNCW's new Chancellor.

"I think there was around 7,000 or 8,000 students at UNCW when I was an undergrad and then nearly 12,000 students when I was finishing my MBA. You're talking about growing the university by a third. I think people appreciate my history. I've seen the university from an alumni perspective and internally as well." Jason refers to his experience not only as a volunteer, but as a member of the adjunct faculty. He has been teaching finance courses at UNCW for the past three years.

Jason attained a new volunteer role, as a member of the Foundation Board, due to his history and experience providing sound guidance to the university.

When speaking with Jason, it's easy to see his passion for UNCW and its students. "Some of the idea of coming to UNCW not knowing anybody and finding myself is, still today, part of my story. Just being on the board itself, speaking up and meeting people has allowed me to succeed in my own personal mission of becoming a larger part of where I live."

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