Friday, September 25, 2009

Spring Graduate Contributes $1,000 Gift to Honors Program

Before Daniel Hibbert headed home to Lansing, Mich., on May 22, he made out a check for $1,000 and handed it over to Dr. Sandra Holt, director of the University Honors Program, saying, “Let me take care of this before I leave Nashville.”

Hibbert, a spring 2009 graduate who received a B.S. in mechanical engineering, is preparing to launch his dream career in investment banking with the Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a full-service global investment and securities firm. He began his career as an operations analyst July 16. He credits the University Honors Program and Tennessee State University for exposing him to the world of business.

“The University Honors Program has invested so much in me in terms of my personal development and growth. I wanted to reciprocate that investment so that another young student will be able to have the same experience I did. I hope it will inspire other alumni to do the same thing, particularly graduates of the Honors Program,” Hibbert said.

During his first leadership course taught by Associate Director William Latham, Hibbert was able to join a team of other honors students in competing at the 2007 Opportunity Funding Corporation Venture Challenge, a national MBA business plan competition.

In addition to the business plan competition, Hibbert also got an opportunity to travel as an honors student to the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Conference in New York City, as well as take the Gallup Strength Finder and Littaur Personality tests. These opportunities, Hibbert said, helped him to realize his purpose in the field of business.

“Daniel is a phenomenal, mature young man. He has been a role model and mentor to many, many students on campus. He also possessed a very strong connection to the execution of his vision even while being a student. You just don’t see that level of drive very often,” Holt said.

“Dr. Holt and Mr. Latham taught us that to whom much is given, much is required. I feel like it’s my duty to give back to the Honors Program because they have given me so much. The Honors Program needs to be able to continue to touch lives without the threat of financial hardship,” Hibbert said.

Holt said that Hibbert’s gift will help support the leadership initiatives of the program and has made him an official member of the Affinity Group, a distinction given to alumni of the Honors Program who contribute gifts of $250 to $1,000 or more a year and agree to mentor program undergraduates whenever they visit the campus or via telephone/e-mail. “The Affinity Group was the dream of Mr. Latham and has been enormously successful in guiding honor students in the right direction,” Holt added.

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