A Farewell Message from Harvie Wilkinson

Harvie Wilkinson

"This is my last message to you since I am retiring in August. When I look back over my nine years at Gatton, the one word comes to mind is gratitude. I was privileged to work with Associate Deans who cared so deeply about the program and taught me so much about navigating the maze called higher education. My thanks to Steve Skinner, Ken Troske and Paul Childs who were always there to support our initiatives.

I am grateful to have worked with so many outstanding and dedicated faculty who taught in the program, especially those who served on the policy committee. They have a passion for making this program as good as it can be. I want to give a special shout out to Frank Scott who has both taught in the program and served on the policy committee for many years and provided me with much appreciated advice throughout my time at Gatton.
We have an advisory council that has been a tremendous support, and has provided us with much needed insight from an employers’ perspective. Everyone on the council was asked numerous times to speak to our students, to mentor and network with them, as well as provide valuable advice to both the students and to our MBA team.

I want to give a very special acknowledgment to John Vidal who has done everything imaginable to support our initiatives and move the program along. John never says "no" when asked for help. I am grateful for our friendship! Many thanks to the countless "friends of the program", including the Project Connect partners as well as our loyal and generous alumni, who have helped us take this program to the next level and have always responded to our requests for assistance, guidance and support.

We have an amazing team in the MBA Center that is second to none! They work tirelessly to attract the best and brightest students to the program and to ensure that our students get the best experience possible. My sincere thanks to Candace Bramley-Hardesty, Beverly Kemper, Christopher Carney, Karl Gustafson, as well as thanks to our colleagues in the Graham Office of Career Management - Jackie Schmidt and Sarah Madison. These talented and dedicated folks made it truly a pleasure to work here.

I am so grateful to the many talented and amazing students that I have had the pleasure and privilege of being associated with over the years. Our graduates can compete with any other business leaders in the country. I have been humbled from the many good wishes received from past students after I announced my retirement; please continue to stay in touch!

And finally, I am so grateful for the support of my wife and children throughout the years. They always enthusiastically supported me each time I made a career change which made the transition easier. I have been rewarded beyond my wildest expectations for having worked here.

If you received the July 2020 UK MBA Newsletter, you will have read about some graduates who have made their mark in the business world as well as in the healthcare industry. Drs. Phil Chang and Tim Mullett have both achieved so much in their profession and have made such a difference in the quality of healthcare in this region and beyond. I am honored to have both these fine gentlemen as friends.

We  featured Jonathan Pliszka, Shane Anderson and Mark Lattis, who have distinguished themselves as business leaders since leaving Gatton years ago. We also featured  Candace Bramley-Hardesty, who was recently appointed to the UK Women’s Forum Board, and Clint McCrystal, who works at LeanCor, and has been an instructor for many of our certificate programs over the years. Also highlighted is Vishnu Jayamohan, who works at Nissan in Tennessee, and is paying it forward by conducting a capstone workshop for us this past spring.

And, finally, there is a story about my son, Jack Wilkinson, who graduated from the One Year program in 2007, and is now the Executive Vice President, Employee Health & Benefits, Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, (MMA), a division of a Fortune 200 company. Jack’s positive experience in the program first got me thinking about a career change years ago. I am so proud of Jack’s rapid progression in his profession, but even more proud of the way he conducts his life as a father, husband, brother, child and friend."

Wishing all of you the best in the future!

-Harvie Wilkinson