In total, the 55 founding partners provided over $12.5 million to help support the Excellence in Banking Program.
The Excellence in Banking (EiB) program, launched by the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business in fall 2019 and led by Director Mike Mauldin, recently finalized its list of founding partners. While fundraising efforts to support the program began in late 2018, 15 of the 55 founding partners have come within the last 6 months.
Many partners gifted well beyond the $100,000 requirement to become a founding partner, resulting in a total of more than $12.5 million being fundraised. Included in that total are funds raised to endow the student organization, the Rawls Banking Association.
The founding partners of the program will be recognized with a permanent display within the college next spring.
Maggie Baker, associate director of development, said that a targeted approach was used to identify an initial pool of potential founding partners for the fundraiser, which was led by Scott Dueser, chairman of the EiB Advisory Council.
“From there, referrals and relationships widened that prospect pool and soon, banks were even approaching us about participating,” said Baker. “We looked for banks that would benefit the program by serving on the industry-led Advisory Council and would keep the curriculum as relevant and applicable as possible.”
Finance Students Immediately Impacted by Excellence in Banking Program
The EiB program prepares finance students for careers in commercial banking by offering a comprehensive understanding of modern banking operations and practices. Fall 2020 marked the first semester that students graduated from the EiB program, and the impact from the founding partners is already being felt.
“Being one of the first graduates of the EiB program is an honor,” said Will Carpenter, a spring 2021 finance graduate from the EiB program.
Emil Wickman, who also graduated with his finance degree in spring 2021, felt a sense of pride being one of the first students to join the new EiB program.
“I am very glad I was a part of the program when it was just being formed,” said Wickman. “It clearly exceeded everyone's expectations.”
When Wickman found out how much of a role the founding partners were playing with the EiB program, he became even more motivated to prioritize his academics.
“It was clear there were going be a lot of opportunities for students in the program with these partners,” said Wickman. “It's an opportunity every student interested in pursuing banking should take advantage of.”
Both Carpenter and Wickman have gone on to begin their careers in the banking industry and currently hold full-time positions. Carpenter works at First Financial Bank in Abilene, Texas while Wickman works at Happy State Bank in the DFW area.
“The EiB program impacted my professional trajectory by solidifying my interest in a career in banking,” said Carpenter. “Having a real-world knowledge of the industry made the transition to full-time employment much easier.”
Carpenter also hopes to follow the path of the EiB's founding partners.
“I have nothing but admiration and gratitude toward the founding partners of the EiB program,” said Carpenter. “These generous individuals and institutions are making a huge impact in the industry, and it means a lot that they care so much about producing the next generation of talent in the field. I look forward to giving back to the program in the future.”
Though the time for being considered a founding partner has passed, others interested in giving to the EiB program can still do so.
“The Excellence in Banking program will always welcome gifts from generous donors interested in making a contribution,” said Baker. “Those gifts will go towards scholarships, the endowed student organization, or to support the operations and growth of the program.”
Anyone interested in giving to the Excellence in Banking program can contact Maggie Baker.