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Camaraderie, Networking, and Accolades at WSC Spring Reception

A heartfelt keynote presentation by Kevin Clayton ’84 ’13P, networking opportunities with special guests, and the first James A. Greenleaf Award presentation were just some of the highlights of the Wall Street Council’s (WSC) annual spring reception in Manhattan on April 21.

The Wall Street Council, Lehigh’s largest affinity group, continues to build relationships among Lehigh students, faculty, leadership, and alumni through events, programming, and its dynamic membership.

Clayton, vice chair and managing director of Makena Capital Management, shared in his remarks the importance of leading by example, learning from Lehigh legends like Lee Iacocca ’45 and Donald Stabler ’30, and giving back to the university. Part of the distinguished Clayton family Lehigh legacy, the active alumnus is vice chair of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees and served as interim president.

“Lehigh provides us with not only the intellectual firepower, but also the determination — and the intestinal fortitude — to succeed in our professional careers,” said Clayton. “[My various roles at Lehigh] provided me with a broad spectrum of views as to why Lehigh University continues to be one of the finest and most respected [educational] institutions in the world today.”

The evening was filled with camaraderie among more than 150 guests, including Lehigh University President John D. Simon ’19P; Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Clayton Dean of the College of Business and Economics; and Brad Eric Scheler ’74 ’05P ’08P ’09PG, chair of the Lehigh University Board of Trustees.

Andrew Fife ’85, WSC president and director of Equity Derivatives Sales at Stifel Nicolaus, and Mike Connor ’80 ’14P, WSC vice president, Lehigh University Board of Trustee member, and CEO at Gimme Credit, spoke to attendees.

Fife shared that among the many benefits of the WSC is learning from and honoring those in the industry who have given back to Lehigh. He added, “We are trying to create an environment where you can connect with people and create opportunities, so that it filters down amongst — not just ourselves — but the students too.”

The James A. Greenleaf Award

This year’s reception also marked the beginning of a new tradition — the awarding of the James A. Greenleaf Award, which honors the late professor emeritus of finance and law who passed away in July 2015. The award will be presented annually to an alumnus who has had success in the financial services industry and has also made it a priority to give back to Lehigh with their time and volunteerism. The first recipient of the award was David D. Beard ’80 ’11P, a WSC executive committee member and director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“We were looking for a long time, since Professor Greenleaf passed away, [for ways] to keep his legacy involved for future generations,” said Fife. “This was a great way that we could do it.”

After being announced, Beard shared his memories of Prof. Greenleaf.

“From the time we were students, I could tell you very clearly that we loved Jim. We called him ‘Coach.’ He would get up in front of the class, and we would feel like he was the Knute Rockne of finance,” said Beard, who concluded with a special request.

“What I’ll ask all of you to do tonight is to wake up tomorrow and think about how you can be a little bit more like Jim Greenleaf and help this community. And if we do that, I can tell you that the future is bright.”

--Story and Photos by Brien Edwards