Wesley Ward and his wife Laura Kenneally, a 2002 Graduate of Hamilton College in upstate New York, have established The Ward Family Scholarship to benefits graduate students enrolled in the MBA/MSA program at OHIO.
Photo courtesy of: Advancement Communication and Marketing
Jul 7, 2014
By Kelee Riesbeck, BSJ '91
Wesley Ward is a 2004 graduate of the College of Business’s Masters of Business Administration/Masters of Sports Administration (MBA/MSA) Dual Degree Program. In recognition of the impact the program had on him and to leave his legacy at OHIO, Ward established The Ward Family Scholarship, which benefits graduate students enrolled in the MBA/MSA program.
The program was a natural next step for Ward, who received his undergraduate degree in sports management from Ohio Northern University. But Ward is the first to say that he got more than he believed was possible out of OHIO’s MBA/MSA Dual Degree Program.
“The coursework allowed me to learn and to apply practical business consulting skills—it wasn’t all theory work,” he said. “It made me a well-rounded professional, prepared me for jumping right into professional work and gave me networking opportunities that helped me land my first few jobs. It was a privilege to attend and it has made a significant impact on my career,” he said.
While he doesn’t work in the sports industry any more, Ward said the core transferable skill he learned in the program—problem solving—is one he uses every day as senior manager of targeted interactions and optimization for W.W. Granger, Inc. in Chicago.
“This is an undervalued skill set,” said Ward. “The MBA/MSA program trained us to tackle specific business problems and taught us how to solve them. The skills I gained collaborating with people and teams have been invaluable to me as a manager.”
Ward said the high-caliber faculty helped him understand many aspects of the professional world, including the value of presenting your best self every time you enter the office.
“They taught me how to present myself, how to be self aware and the importance of being on time,” he said. “We had to wear collared shirts and slacks to class. These may seem like small things, but the discipline I gained made me more conscious of how I presented myself when I was competing for jobs,” he said. “It also told me I wasn’t as good as I thought I was,” he laughed.
Ward utilized W.W. Granger, Inc.’s 3:1 Matching Charitable Gifts Program to help establish his gift. As the name implies, the company matches an employee’s contributions to a preferred charity three dollars to each dollar the employee contributes to the charity. This employer-funded resource enabled Ward, who is considered a young alumnus, to establish the scholarship.
“The company is very open about promoting its matching gifts program, so I took advantage of it,” he said.
Ward’s gift is part of Ohio University’s Promise Lives Campaign, which reached its goal of $450 million in support of students, faculty, programs, outreach and facilities in April—14 months ahead of the June 30, 2015 deadline. Having secured more than $464.4 million, the Campaign will continue through June, 2015 and focus on increasing scholarship gifts.