I owe a lot to Indiana University. The education I received in the classroom and through my life experiences as a student changed me as a person. IU gave me what I needed to succeed in my career. It not only gave me the skills necessary to succeed, but the confidence in myself to use those skills to realize my full potential. Further, in the years since graduating, the connections I have made through IU have proved to be immensely valuable in helping to advance my career. What I have gotten out of IU has far outweighed what I paid in tuition and room and board. Throughout my career, I have tried to find opportunities to give back to the university that has given me so much.
Since graduating from IU with a Bachelor of Science in Business in 1994 and later with an MBA in 2002, I have had the privilege of giving back to IU financially and through service as an alumni mentor at the Kelley School of Business, as a board member of my local chapter of the IU Alumni Association, as a member of the Alumni Leadership Network, and as a Life Member of the IU Alumni Association. One of my favorite ways of serving IU has been as an Alumni Mentor. Over the years, I have spent countless evenings at the Undergraduate Career Services Office at the Kelley School of Business meeting with sophomore and senior students performing mock interviews and conducting resume reviews. My work to support the institution I love, however, pales in comparison to what I have received from it. That’s why I am seeking to take my service to a new level by seeking a seat on the Board of Trustees.
I would consider it the highest honor to be chosen to represent you, the alumni, on the Board of Trustees. As a trustee, my first priority would be to safeguard the foundation of academic excellence for which IU is known globally. The Indiana University of today looks very different than the IU from which I graduated. Just as our campuses have changed physically with new and upgraded facilities to meet the changing needs and wants of students, so too have the courses, majors and degrees adapted to meet the demands of today. The way education is delivered has also changed to keep pace with an increasingly busy and interconnected world. Never has this been truer than over the past year with the upheaval from COVID-19, and the rapid shift to online delivery of course curriculum. This is a testament to the faculty and administrators who have risen to meet the challenge in an incredibly short span of time. IU has always risen to the challenge and delivered excellence. This is because of trustees, both past and present, who recognize the importance of remaining relevant in a changing world.
Maintaining academic excellence, however, is futile if our citizens can’t afford to take advantage of what our university has to offer. Therefore, another one of my top priorities as a trustee will be to ensure that the administration maintains a vigorous pursuit of affordability in education. Too many students today graduate with staggering student loan balances. Nationally, the growth of student loan debt has now eclipsed that of personal credit card debt. This is unsustainable and a drain on our nation’s economy.
As a trustee, I will seek increased investment from the Indiana General Assembly, work to ensure that the University maintains a responsible budget that minimizes those costs that don’t impact academic excellence, and preserve the University’s stellar credit rating. Having served as a Chief Financial Officer for many years, I understand the importance of maintaining the highest level of financial stability. I will make sure that every decision takes into account the university’s financial credibility.
As I have talked with alumni here in Indiana and around the country, one common theme has emerged. Many alumni wish they were more connected to IU. They wish that IU offered more career-enhancing opportunities. And they wish that they had stronger ties to their fellow alumni. I believe that a degree is only as valuable as the alumni family that stand behind it. As such, another top priority will be to further strengthen the focus on alumni.
I hope you will join those around the world who have nominated me, and vote for me to represent you on the Board of Trustees of Indiana University. As your trustee, I will welcome your input, comments, ideas, suggestions and questions. I hope to earn your trust not only during this election, but during my entire tenure as a trustee. For more information visit my website at WellsforIUtrustee.com. Thank you and Go IU!