Babson Center for Global Commerce

A Wm. Polk Carey Pre-Business Program

Pre-business program wraps up another successful year


2014 Carey Fellows with family, friends, faculty and Center Staff

Carey Fellows with family, friends, faculty, and Babson Center staff at a ceremony honoring the Fellows for successful completion of the business honors program.


Sewanee’s Wm. Polk Carey Pre-Business Program closed out the 2013-2014 academic year with strong evidence of continued student enthusiasm for the business minor, new opportunities for students to gain hands-on financial management skills, and approval of a new business-themed residential community.

Here’s a rundown of significant developments in business education at Sewanee over the academic year.

Business Minor

For the second year in a row, over ten percent of the graduating class achieved a business minor. The addition of 35 graduates this year brings the overall total to 138 business minors since the inception of the program six years ago. Majors represented among 2014 business minor graduates included  economics, psychology, environmental studies, politics, music, English, chemistry, biochemistry, art, and American studies. Six graduating seniors were on the Carey Fellows honors-track and were presented with certificates to mark successful completion of this rigorous program. As of the month of graduation, all six Carey Fellows had solidified full-time employment opportunities or post-graduate education plans.

As of the close of the academic year, 74 rising juniors and seniors had declared business minors. Business continues to be the most popular among the 32 academic minors offered at the University. Seven rising seniors and five rising juniors are currently Carey Fellows. Our seven rising seniors spent their spring semester working in internships at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, Raymond James & Associates, UBS, HealthCare Royalty Partners, OppenheimerFunds, Boston Financial Investment Management, and the Montana Community Development Corporation.

Summer Business “Bridge” Program

Seven Sewanee students are spending part of their summer at some of the nation’s top business schools as Beecken Scholars. This year’s Beecken Scholars in include two 2014 graduates, three rising seniors and two rising juniors. Beecken Scholarships provide up to 100 percent of the program expenses to attend specially designed education experiences for liberal arts students who want to build their business skills for their post-college careers. This year, Sewanee students are enrolled in the Booth program at the University of Chicago, the Tuck program at Dartmouth College and the Haas program at the University of California Berkeley.

Student-Directed Investments

The academic year saw an expansion of business-related student activities. Members of the student-run Sewanee Investment Club took on responsibility for actively managing $250,000 of the University’s endowment and began making early stage “angel” investments and debt investments with an additional $110,000 in assets from a foundation grant.

The Investment Club began managing virtual investment portfolios in 2010, but the decision by the University’s Board of Regents to authorize student management of a portion of the endowment means students learn the real-life results of their decisions.

Taxpayer Assistance

Student volunteers offered area residents assistance in federal income tax preparation after receiving Internal Revenue Service certification through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Student Dorothy Estes, C’ 15, directed the program with funding and leadership training provided by a Canale Foundation Service internship. Twenty students earned the IRS certification.

Business House

Business students won approval of their application to create a business-themed residential community for the coming academic year. Appropriately, the new Business House will be located in the Sewanee business district. Six business minors will live in the house, and the students say their goal is  “to create a comfortable and familiar space for Sewanee’s many business themed clubs and activities.” Common space in the new residential community will be used as a meeting place for student business organizations.

Speakers Series

A former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Lee Thomas, C’67, and the top executive of SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI), William Rogers, gave the Bryan Viewpoint Speaker Series lectures. Thomas, who later served as the chief executive and chairman of the multibillion dollar forest products firm Rayonier (NYSE: RYN), gave a clear assessment of the complex relationship between environmental regulators and the business community. Rogers discussed how his bank is seeking to define its purpose in more expansive terms than the metric of shareholder value.

The Rev. Becca Stevens, a 1985 Sewanee graduate and Episcopal chaplain at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, was the Humphreys Entrepreneur in Residence. Stevens described the founding and growth of Thistle Farms, a beauty products company she founded as a means of funding the Magdalene residential recovery program for women who have been victims of sex trafficking, prostitution, and substance abuse.

Donald Holmes, the senior human relations executive at Delek US Holdings (NYSE: DK), a Brentwood, TN-based energy company, discussed the difficult topic of changing corporate culture during his term as the Graham Executive in Residence. Holmes’ candid presentation talked about the process of building a senior executive team that strives to build relationships of trust in the executive suite.

Douglas Broderick, the senior residential representative of the United Nations in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, lectured on potential surprises in the worlds’ emerging countries as our Diplomat in Residence.

In addition to their public lectures, each of the professionals-in-residence engaged students in one-on-one mentoring sessions, shared meals with small groups of students, and taught classes.

Other Events

The Babson Center and the Office of Career & Leadership Development sponsored two Smith Career Conversations, one focused on careers in the financial services industry and another on careers in advertising, brand management, and marketing. The Smith Career Conversations bring together successful leaders in business--many of them Sewanee alumni--and students for day-long interactions, mentoring, and discussions.

The Center also continued its sponsorship of hands-on training in computer-based methodologies for students interested in learning the basics of spreadsheet financial modeling. One session teaches the basics of financial spreadsheets, and the second session is devoted to corporate valuation. Professional trainers from the firm Training The Street teach the sessions.

Babson Center Advisory Board and Staff

Seven new members joined the Center’s Advisory Board at the April meeting. The advisory board, drawn from alumni, parents, and friends of Sewanee with successful careers in business, supports activities of the Babson Center and the full program of business education at Sewanee.

The new board members are

  • Jerry Adams, C’65, president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA), a nonprofit organization that funds research at Arkansas universities;
  • Matthew Bourlakas, C’87, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee;
  • Dave Deiters, managing director and president of the South region for The North Highland Company, an international management consulting firm;
  • Blainey M. Hess, C’88, chief operating officer and senior vice president of Maguire Oil Company and executive vice president of Components Corporation of America;
  • Randy Johnson, C’65, president of Green Crow Corporation, a family owned timberland holding and investment management services firm with operations in the Northwest and New England;
  • Michael Whelchel, C’89, cofounder and managing partner at the Watershed Capital Group, an investment bank advising companies and funds advancing the sustainable economy;
  • and McCauley Williams, C’04, global talent acquisition partner at Brown-Forman Corporation, one of the largest spirits and wine companies in the world.

The Babson Center also recognized retiring board members with thanks for their years of service to Sewanee business education. The retiring members are 

  • Ward Cammack, president of Ogre, LLC, and Five Sisters, LLC;
  • Bill Harper, C’78, managing director of The Harper Wealth Management Group;
  • Jason Payne, C’00, manager of strategic business development for HD Supply, Inc. (NASDAQ:HDS);
  • and Charles Strain, C'87, vice president of US marketing at United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS).

?anna Brown McClain

Janna Brown McClain, C’04, joined the staff of the Babson Center as operations manager. McClain has a Master’s in curriculum and instruction. She spent the last decade in the classroom and is also a teacher consultant with the Middle Tennessee Writing Project.

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