Alumni share wisdom with business students

Students in Professor Jimmy Witherspoon’s Wills, Estates and Trusts class listened intently to the wisdom and experience of professionals who once sat where they sit. Richard Newton, Gene Lewis, Ryan Newkirk and Dennis Bellefeville, were all trust management majors at Campbell University before entering the wealth management industry. They were among a group of over 24 alumni who returned Thursday, Oct. 5, to give students in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business a taste of what the real world of finance is like. The occasion was Alumni Appreciation Day. “It is no longer the day of the stiff-necked banker,” said Newkirk, a vice president in the Wealth Management Division of BB&T. “The trust management business is all about relationships.” Bellefeville who is the chief trust examiner for the state of North Carolina explained the diversity of opportunities available to trust management majors. “When I started in banking, the trust department was considered a loss leader, but in 1974 with the advent of Individual Retirement Accounts and 401 K plans, the trust industry started changing and banks began to look at trust management from a different perspective.” Newton, who is president of Newton and Associates, a private consulting firm with both institutional and individual clients; and Lewis, who manages the institutional trust group at First Citizens Bank, agreed with their colleagues. “The sky is the limit in wealth management,” said Newton. “Per capita, it is one of the fastest-growing areas of our business.” Alumni Appreciation Day evolved out of a desire to have students become more involved with alumni, according to Dr. Ben Hawkins, dean of the School of Business. “After the first event in 2005-2006, it didn’t take much encouragement on the part of the business school to keep the alumni involved,” he said. “Several even called me to ask if they could return this year.” “This is a great opportunity for students to network with trust alumni,” said Witherspoon. “Our alums really look after our students. They are very loyal to Campbell.” Other alumni participating in the event were Kelly Christensen of the Bob Barker Company in Fuquay-Varina, Danny Highsmith of the Beasley Broadcasting Group, North Carolina Representative David Lewis, Mounir Saleh of the Neo Monde Bakery and Deli and political consultant Dee Stewart. “This was an awesome presentation because you could see the real side of what you will be doing,” said Rob Yoder, a trust management major from Winston-Salem, N.C. “I learned how important it is to develop relationships with your clients and to have fun.” Developed from Campbell’s first Department of Business, established in 1893, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business was formally established in 1983. It offers undergraduate degrees in business administration, accounting, trust management, computer information systems, economics, international business, and golf management, as well as Master of Business Administration and Master of Trust and Investment Management degrees. Reporting an enrollment of over 1,000 students, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business is one of only 18 schools in the nation to have a golf management program approved by the PGA and the only school in the nation to offer undergraduate Trust and Investment Management degree programs.Photo Copy: Ryan Newkirk, a vice president with BB&T, chats with business student William Warren of Asheville during Alumni Appreciation Day at Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. (Photo by Shannon Ryals)

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