Everything Bill Jackman needed to know about success began on a hardwood floor in the small, southwest Nebraska town of Grant. Standing a mere 6’9” tall by the time he graduated, there was really no question he would play basketball. It was ultimately a question of how successful he would become.
“Growing up in Grant, it was important to win. We didn’t want to be second best. I learned about self-discipline as a team member in junior high and we were very successful,” said Jackman. “Winning and success have a common bond. Through hard work and effort you earn rewards. Once you know success you don’t want anything else. The same philosophy can be applied in business.”
Jackman was no stranger to success. He led Grant to two Class C basketball titles and played on three Class C-2 state championship football teams. He signed with Duke University in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s second recruiting class which finished as NCAA runner-up in 1986. After a freshman year, which saw him guarding players like North Carolina’s Michael Jordan, Jackman transferred to Nebraska to finish his career and be closer to home.
“I have been very fortunate to have surrounded myself with good, successful people. When I signed with Duke, Coach K reminded me of Coach Tom Osborne in so many ways because of his values and the relationships he has with his players. It was a difficult decision to leave Duke, but I needed to be closer to home,” he said.
Bill Jackman with his children at Memorial Stadium
Jackman enrolled in the UNL College of Business Administration in 1983 and graduated with a finance degree in 1986. Following his Husker career, he landed in Texas working in finance for three years. While in Texas, he played on a basketball league with 15-18 NBA players three times a week. They thought he should try professional ball, so he quit his day job and played on the international circuit for three years.
When his basketball career ended, he enrolled at the University of Chicago in the MBA program, graduating in 1995 with a finance emphasis. Upon graduation, he worked for Goldman Sachs for 10 years before moving to Morgan Stanley for four years. Jackman is currently senior vice president of investments for UBS, a private wealth management firm in Dallas, Texas.
Always one to appreciate his roots, Jackman is an active UNL and CBA alumnus. He is a member of the Capital Campaign Committee and hosts CBA alumni events in the Dallas area each year. The University of Nebraska Foundation named him as a board member in 2012, where he previously served a six-year term as a trustee.
“My education at CBA prepared me to be successful in the business world,” Jackman said. “I am so impressed with Dean Donde Plowman and the vision she has for the college. She is definitely the right leader. It’s hard not to be excited about all the great things happening at CBA.”