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Waggoner Partners to Launch Investors with Purpose Program

Alum's Gift Fosters Career Success in Finance
Waggoner  Partners to Launch Investors with  Purpose Program
Doug Waggoner, '75 and '77, pitched and funded a new program called Investors with Purpose.
Tina Udell
Tina Udell, '97, vice president and managing director of corporate credit at Ameritas Investment Partners, presents to students.

Launched in 2020, a new program in wealth management brings together high-achieving students with global investment professionals for a one-of-a-kind learning experience at the College of Business. Doug Waggoner, ’75 and ’77, envisioned the Investors with Purpose program and pitched the idea to the College of Business, based on trying new things during his own successful career in finance and investment management.

Waggoner’s desire to impact the future of his field inspired him to join forces with his alma mater, where he served in various capacities, including as a member of the Department of Finance Advisory Board at the college. He also helped make the new program possible through funding on behalf of the Douglas and Karin Waggoner Family Foundation.

“Our goal is to provide students with the skills and knowledge of asset management with real-world experiences. Industry leaders are excited to be a part of this program, and the students, the College of Business and the future of asset management will all benefit,” said Waggoner, who worked for Ford Motor Company, Rockwell International and several asset management firms, including 25 years as a senior leader and managing director at BlackRock.

While many business schools host guest speakers, the Investors with Purpose program brings business leaders into the classroom, as well as develops community between professionals and students through a mentorship component. Waggoner believes these connections formed through the program will help students develop a great career.

Waggoner attending dinner with students
Students attend dinner with speakers, like Waggoner, after class.

“I understand how hard it might be for students to break into this industry,” he said. “I didn’t have that kind of mentor growing up, but I made it by working hard and not being afraid of taking a risk. Diligence and perseverance are traits Nebraska students have. This program and its mentors can help build their confidence in taking risks and putting yourself out there.”

For the course, industry leaders travel to campus to discuss topics, such as FinTech, financial asset alternatives like hedge funds and regulatory issues. After class, they join students at dinner to continue their discussions.

Another benefit of the course includes paid investment internships with the University of Nebraska Foundation or the Nebraska Investment Council. Nick Callahan, senior finance, accounting and economics major from Shawnee, Kansas, completed the first internship connected with the course.

“This program positions us to help launch the career of the next Warren Buffett by letting students understand what it means to take risks and not be afraid to fail,” said Richard DeFusco, department chair and professor of finance. “Financial investment is more than just classroom theories, it’s the day-to-day connections you make working with others in the profession. That’s an enormous game changer we’re introducing for our finance students.”

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