$100,000 BB&T gift enables two students to receive professional skills training

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Two Wofford students – one an Iraq War veteran and the other committed to working with the poor – have been selected to receive full scholarships for a summer program that teaches professional skills to college students.

Wofford’s Institute for Professional Development, a five-week program that begins July 9, is sponsored by a $100,000 gift from BB&T Bank made in 2011. This is the second year that two students have received full tuition support for the institute through that gift. A number of other students receive partial scholarships paid from the BB&T funds.

The 26 students in the program will live on campus while learning to navigate the working world waiting for them after graduation. “We teach them how to make an effective presentation, speak appropriately to their boss or senior executives, develop a project and utilize each team member’s strengths to get the work done, use technology to efficiently manage work, dress appropriately for whatever environment they’ll be going into, and how to understand and prepare for leadership,” says Scott Cochran, dean of the Mungo Center for Professional Excellence at Wofford, which oversees the institute.

For Jeremy Boeh, a 28-year-old junior majoring in history, the institute is an opportunity to catch up on some of the experiences he missed while doing two tours of duty as an infantry soldier in Iraq. He hopes to learn enough in five weeks to prepare for a job in marketing and advertising after leaving Wofford next year.

“I have Iraq real-world experience, but I need day-to-day business operations experience in the civilian world,” Boeh says. “I’m getting a little bit of a late start on such a drastic change from what I’ve done in the past or even what I’m majoring in. The opportunity to be immersed in as much as I can as quickly as possible can prep me for when I graduate.”

Ben Green, 20, also a junior and majoring in finance and Spanish, hopes learning professional skills will round out his education and help him speak effectively about his experiences traveling as a student in Peru, Chile and Argentina, as well as the two summers he spent working with Latino children in Dallas and with a mission organization in Iquitos, Peru. He hopes to put his finance degree to work in a non-profit or humanitarian aid organization.

“I see the institute as something that can help develop my professional side,” he says. “A big part of that is being able to take your experiences and talk about them and find a useful way to use those in the real world. I think it’s going to be a great step for me from working with people in the field. I’m going to have to be able to do both parts, the business side of it, once I’m ready for a career.”

Both men will receive full scholarships for the institute. The $3,900 tuition covers room and board, course materials, and outings.

Tom Eller, regional president for BB&T, says the bank “is a mission-driven organization with a clearly defined set of values. We expect our employees to have a strong sense of purpose, a high level of self-esteem, and the capacity to think clearly and logically. We know that values are standards that lead to excellence in thinking and action.

“BB&T believes that Wofford students enrolled in the Institute for Professional Development share many of the same values as BB&T employees,” Eller continues. “The institute creates a forum and environment where its students use independent thinking to make rational, fact based decisions. The students are trained to be producers and take the necessary actions to accomplish their goals. Because of all this, BB&T knows that the program prepares its students for long-term success in the business world. We are proud to be associated with Wofford’s Institute for Professional Development.”

Cochran points out that “through its internal leadership development program, BB&T has shown its understands the importance of helping employees grow into strong, effective leaders, which in turn makes BB&T a strong and effective company. Its $100,000 gift recognizes Wofford’s innovation in developing future leaders before they leave school. The gift will enable Jeremy and Ben to have that training, and future students, as well.”

Wofford’s Mungo Center for Professional Excellence was established in 2010 to train students in leadership, entrepreneurship, consulting, and project management, as well as to provide them with career search assistance. It is named for Steven and Stewart Mungo, principals in The Mungo Companies, named one of America’s Best Builders by Builder Magazine for 2012. The brothers are longtime supporters of the college through the Mungo Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, the Mungo Endowed Professorship, and the M. Stewart and Steven W. Mungo Endowed Scholarship Fund. Stewart Mungo is a 1975 graduate of the college and a member of Wofford’s Board of Trustees. Steven Mungo is a 1981 Wofford graduate and a member of the President’s Advisory Board.

University Press Release here.


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