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International experience inspires alumnus to give

12/17/2010

A gift from a Miami alumnus who works in global finance will enable increasing numbers of business students to study abroad. Kevin Willsey (Finance '85) has pledged $200,000 to the Farmer School of Business. The funds will establish the Kevin Willsey International Scholars Fund, with the primary purpose to support students for semester-long study-abroad programs.

Willsey, managing director and co-head of investment banking - North America at J.P. Morgan Chase, understands the importance of international studies. He spent his junior year in college studying in Sevilla, Spain and considers that experience the “single most distinguishing event” in his college career. The fluency in Spanish he gained during that year was critical to his being hired by JP Morgan, where he was assigned to a position in Latin America.

“Studying abroad enables students to immerse themselves in a different culture and gain global perspectives that will prepare them to succeed in our increasingly global economy,” Willsey said. “I want to make an impact on the undergraduate experience that the Farmer School offers, and believe that an international study experience will significantly contribute to students’ leadership and strategic capabilities.”

The Farmer School of Business continues to be a national leader in providing study-abroad opportunities for its students. Willsey’s gift brings the school another step closer to reaching its goal of providing this transformational experience to all of its students. At present, sixty-three percent of Farmer School students spend a summer or semester in Asia, Europe or Latin America. Next year the school will launch a program in South Africa.

“Kevin fully understands the importance of the school’s goal of providing study-abroad opportunities to 100 percent of our students, and has invested strategically to help us realize that goal,” said Roger L. Jenkins, dean of the Farmer School. “Cost is the primary reason students decide against spending a semester abroad; Kevin’s significant contribution addresses the need for more financial aid.”

Willsey is a member of the Farmer School’s Business Advisory Council and recently initiated JP Morgan’s on-campus recruiting efforts at Miami.

The gift supports the Miami University campaign For Love and Honor, a $500 million initiative supporting scholarships, faculty, student-learning opportunities, academic programs, and facilities and grounds. Of the more than $395 million raised so far, $86.5 million, or 22 percent, has been raised through bequests.

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