Can you provide us with some information about your background? Your education and career?
I grew up in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Champaign-Urbana for school, then to Chicago. I’ve been an Illinoisian my whole life. I graduated from Gies College of Business in 1986 and immediately started working on my MBA at the University of Chicago (’88) while starting my career at Harris Bank. I moved over to First Chicago Investment Advisors and worked there until 1993, when I left to start my own company, Frontier Partners. We specialize in the institutional asset management space.
Can you tell us more about how you have stayed connected to the University of Illinois since your time as a student?
I’ve been connected to the University of Illinois since I graduated. Shortly after graduation, I was asked to join the advisory board for student affairs and I later served on a different advisory board for the College of Media. I was asked by President Killeen to serve on a special committee for strategic framework. The largest amount of time has been spent with the University of Illinois Alumni Association. I served on the UIAA Board of Directors from 2010 to 2023 and chair from 2019 to 2021.
Giving to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is clearly important to you. Can you explain what compelled you to give and keep giving? What do you hope your philanthropy accomplishes for the university?
Giving to the University of Illinois is important to me. I’ve been blessed with good fortune and feel compelled to give back and provide others with the same opportunities. There are many ways to give back with your time, talent, and treasure. I do my best to give back in each of these forms. I started giving at a young age because it sends an important message. The University is a living organism and supporting it will impact future generations in a positive way.
What advice can you share about how to make a lasting impact at the University of Illinois?
There is a misconception that it needs to be done with money, but making a lasting impact can be done in many ways. Find ways to get involved with your specific college and this can make a big impact. Think outside the box in regards to helping the University.
What is your favorite University of Illinois memory?
There are so many great memories, but one of my favorites was going to the Dew Chili Parlor as a senior with three of my best friends that I met as a freshman. They had various levels of spice for the chili, but their hottest version was known as Fire Brand Chili. If you could finish the serving, your name was put on the wall. Four friends walked into the restaurant and three of us had our names added to the wall. We are still best friends to this day and that one friend doesn’t live it down.