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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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September 6, 2017

Chapin Scholars Praise Opportunities at Center for Sales Excellence

Chapin Scholars Praise Opportunities at Center for Sales Excellence
Trevor Willenborg, C.J. Adamson, Kathleen O'Toole and Michael Martin pose for photographs in one of the new Center for Sales Excellence sales lab rooms.
Four students from the Center for Sales Excellence (CSE) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business received the Richard W. Chapin Scholarships for the 2017-18 school year. The students earned $2,000 each for demonstrating excellence in the CSE program. Recipients included C.J. Adamson, a senior marketing major from Hickman, Nebraska; Michael Martin, a senior marketing major from Rockford, Illinois, Kathleen O’Toole, a senior marketing major from Wilber, Nebraska; and Trevor Willenborg, a senior marketing and international business major from Elkhorn, Nebraska.

Chapin ’46, provides scholarships to business students because he believes the CSE program emphasis on sales mirrors his own attitudes toward the profession. He began a career in media sales in 1953 and became a pioneer in the world of television and radio through his leadership at Stuart Broadcasting.

“I started the scholarship program because I believe in the sales profession,” said Chapin. “When I speak to students I explain a good sales person never wants for a job, and most excellent sales people make more money than the managers. The Center for Sales Excellence is a way to give stature to the profession and the scholarships are my way of giving back to the College of Business.”

The new Howard L. Hawks Hall houses the Center for Sales Excellence program which includes students majoring in colleges across campus.
The new Howard L. Hawks Hall houses the Center for Sales Excellence program which includes students from colleges across campus.
All four scholarship recipients already earned or will earn advanced certificates in professional selling from the CSE before graduation. The advanced certificate requires the completion of 16 hours of relevant coursework related to sales. The students emphasized the practical application of the coursework to their future careers.

“The Center for Sales Excellence provided me the foundation I need to build a career,” said Willenborg, who already has a sales-based job lined up after graduation in May 2018 at Cisco Systems in North Carolina. “Professors provide supportive context for what you’ll experience in the field like the sales internship I have at Buildertrend. It also helps working with high-achieving fellow students in collaborative groups that aren’t afraid to work outside their comfort zone.”

Beyond the relationships with professors, networking with businesses becomes a key component of the CSE program. The interactions with business professionals make the student experience come alive according to Martin.

“Being an out-of-state student, it was great to find this strong network of people at Nebraska. Our professors have experience working with big companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, so it gives us practical real-world examples to draw upon. We make connections with big local companies throughout the semester at networking luncheons where people from NRC Health, Sandhills Publishing, Assurity, Pacific Life and other prominent companies interact with us,” said Martin.

O’Toole explained she has a long list of contacts for assisting with her future career. She also believes contacts with fellow sales students will pay long-term dividends.

Chapin Scholars receive $2,000 each as recipients.
Chapin Scholars receive $2,000 each as recipients.
“We work in collaborative groups and the students really bond in this program to where you know everyone in a closer way than normal classmates,” said O’Toole. “Receiving the scholarship from Mr. Chapin is a great honor and gives us more confidence going forward because we see other people believing in us.”

Adamson, who currently works with CSE partner NRC Health, sees the scholarship as a case-in-point of what the program teaches. One of the sales activities students work on is selling the CSE efforts to local businesses to create more partnerships with businesses in Nebraska.

“Sales students have opportunities to sell ourselves and the program by getting businesses to sponsor some of our special events. It opens doors like my job with NRC Health that I never would have had without this program. Receiving the scholarship was almost showing us what real sales life is going to be like. It’s a reap what you sow type of career. It’s cool to have worked hard the past two years and then be given something for it at the end. It shows hard work pays off,” said Adamson.

To learn more about the Center for Sales Excellence visit: