Private liberal arts college Wesleyan University first opened its doors in 1831. Initially conceived as a men’s college under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the now-secular (and unisex) college has graduated scores of some of the brightest and biggest names in arts, politics, journalism, science and business. With notable alumni including 34 members of Congress, 11 governors, 13 Pulitzer-Prize winners, and countless founders and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, the University is clearly doing something right. To find out more about the University’s glittering alumni, let’s look at a rundown of the 20 Most Notable Wesleyan University alumni in business.
1. Robert Allbritton
Businessman Robert Allbritton earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1992. In the subsequent years, Allbritton has established a successful career in the media, firstly as chairman and CEO of Allbritton Communications (the primary subsidiary of private holding company Perpetual Cooperation and owner of eight television stations affiliated with ABC), and latterly, as the owner and founder of Capital News Company, a leading media company whose broad reach includes the political outlet, Politico. Allbritton has continued his association with his alma mater since graduation, serving on its board of trustees and funding the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.
2. Jonathan S. Bush
Entrepreneur (and George W. Bush’s cousin), Jonathan S. Bush, initially attended Boston University for 1 year before transferring to Wesleyan University. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993, Bush has built a successful career in technology, co-founding women’s health clinic, Athena Women's Health, in 1997, and subsequently developing it into the primary platform for healthcare services and point-of care mobile apps. Bush served as CEO of the company until his resignation in October 2018. His time at the helm earned him numerous awards, including the title of CEO of the Year by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council in 2013.
3. KC Chan
Chinese native KC Chan earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Wesleyan University before pursuing his MBA and PhD at the University of Chicago. After graduating, Chan worked for 9 years as a teacher at Max M. Fisher College of Business in Ohio State University, attaining the position of Dean of Business and Management in 1993. In 2007, Chan branched into politics, serving as Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury until his succession by James Lau in 2017. Outside of politics, Chan serves as the ex official chairman of the Kowloon-Canyon Railway Corporation, and a member of the Hong Kong International Theme Parks board of directors.
4. Ron Daniel
After graduating from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, Ron Daniel completed his studies with an M.B.A at Harvard Business School. After a brief stint in the US Navy, Daniel joined McKinsey & Company Inc in 1957. In 1968, he was promoted to the position of senior partner, and in 1976, he attained the position of managing director. During his tenure at McKinsey, Daniel was credited with developing the concept of critical success factors (the management term for an activity or factor that’s vital for a company’s success). In addition to his career with McKinsey, Daniel has served as chairman emeritus of the Wesleyan’s board of trustees, as well as board director for organizations such as the Brookings Institution and broadcasting station, Thirteen/WNET.
5. John B. Frank
After graduating with honors from Wesleyan University, John B. Frank started his career as a law clerk for politician, Frank M. Coffin. In 1984, he joined prominent law firm, Munger, Tolles and Olson, where he was responsible for managing several noteworthy mergers and acquisitions. Frank served with the practice until 2001, when he left to take the position of General Counsel at Oaktree Capital Management. In 2007, Frank was promoted to the position of Managing Principle of the company, and in 2014, he was appointed Vice Chairman. Outside of his 9-5 with Oaktree, Frank sits on the Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation and continues his relationship with his old school through his position as Trustee.
6. Jim Friedlich
Wesleyan University graduate Jim Friedlich has enjoyed a remarkable career that’s included senior positions at Dow Jones and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, along with ownership of several media and private equity firms, including ZelnickMedia (a private equity firm specializing in minority investments and leveraged buyouts); Empirical Media Advisors (a news guidance service); and Digital Media Investments (a digital content investor). Outside of his main business activities, Friedlich serves on the Board of Directors of University Settlement, a family services organization, and public radio station, WFMU.
7. Pete Ganberg
Former Wesleyan University student Pete Ganberg began his career at A&R Records Inc. in 1989, serving initially at SBK Records before joining Arista Records as Senior Director, A&R after SBK wound up their operations in the late 1990’s. Ganberg remained with Arista until 2001, when he left to join Epic Records as Senior Vice President, A&R. In 2003, Ganberg started his own A&R consulting business, Pure Tone Music. 2008 saw Ganberg join Atlantic Records as Executive Vice President, a position he served in until his appointment as President of A&R in 2017. According to Bloomberg, Ganberg’s projects have managed to pull in more than 60 million worldwide sales in total since he started in the industry 20 years ago.
8. John Hagel III
Since graduating from Wesleyan University in 1972, John Hagel has carved out a hugely successful career as a management consultant and author. In addition to helping McKinsey and Company open their Silicon Valley office, Hagel has launched two tech start-ups, including the Deloitte Center for the Edge, a research center that specializes in identifying emerging business trends and opportunities for corporate growth. Since its beginnings in Silicon Valley, the Centre has grown into a global presence with offices in both the Netherlands and Australia. In addition to his work with the Center, Hagel serves as co-chair of the Global Future Council on the Future of Platforms and Systems, and as a trustee of the Santa Fe Institute.
9. Chick Pagano
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Science degree in organizational psychology from the University of Hartford, business executive Chick Pagano studied astronomy in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Wesleyan University. Since completing his education, Pagano has built a highly respected career in broadcasting, joining ESPN as a technical director in 1979 and quickly working his work up the ranks to his current position as Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Technology Officer. During his time at ESPN, Pagano has received recognition for his part in developing the first 1080p 3D facility in the world, and orchestrating ESPN’s transition into high-definition output.
10. Gary Loveman
Businessman and economist Gary Loveman started his career as an academic but left his post at Harvard Business School in 1998 to join the gaming cooperation, Harrah’s Entertainment (latterly Caesar Entertainment), initially as COO and later as CEO. After stepping down from the position in 2015 amidst a company-wide restructuring program, Loveman continued his association with the group via his role as chairman, an appointment he held until late 2017. In addition to his activities with Caesar Entertainment, Loveman also holds a stake in basketball team, Boston Celtics, and is a trustee of Boston’s Children Hospital.
11. Jonathan Soros
Founder and chief executive of JS Capital Management LLC, Jonathan Soros, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1992 before earning his Master of Arts in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Management and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Soros served briefly as a federal judge begore joining investment management firm, Soros Fund Management, in 2002. Soros served as chief investment officer at the company until his resignation in 2011. Since stepping down from active duties at Soros, the businessman has served as CEO of JS Capital Management LLC, a private investment firm. Soros’ success with the company has won him numerous plaudits, including being named by Fortune as a “hedge fund titan.”
12. Dan Wolf
In 1989, American entrepreneur Dan Wolf founded the airline company Cape Air. The company initially traveled between Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts only, but has since become the largest independent regional airline in the States, employing over 1000 staff and serving the East Coast, the Midwest, the Caribbean and Micronesia. In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Soros has seen success in the public sector, serving for three consecutive terms as the Cape and Island district senator.
13. George M. La Monte
George M. La Monte studied at Columbia University for one year before transferring (and ultimately graduating from) Wesleyan University. After completing his education, La Monte worked for several years as a commercial reporter for the Bradstreet company, before joining his father in the launch of George La Monte & Son, the safety paper manufacturing company at which he served as president for 31 years. Aside from his activities in manufacturing, La Monte dabbled briefly in politics, and served for several years as both the president of the National Bank of Bound Brook and the chairman of the board of directors of the Prudential Insurance Company.
14. Walter Wriston
William Wriston obtained his BA from Wesleyan University in 1941 and his MA from Fletcher School at Tufts University in 1942. After graduating, Wriston served as a junior Foreign Service officer at the State Department, during which time he helped negotiate the release of American prisoners of war in Japan. Wriston subsequently joined Citicorp (latter to be renamed Citigroup). During his tenure as CEO and chairman of the group, Wriston implemented numerous advancements, including the introduction of automated teller machines, interstate banking and the negotiable certificate of deposit.
15. Laura Ruth Walker
Laura Ruth Walker graduated with a BA in History from Wesleyan University and earned an MBA from the Yale Management School in 1987. After beginning her career as a journalist with National Public Radio, Walker spent several years at the Sesame Workshop before being charged with overseeing radio station WNYC’s transformation into an independent non- profit. Walker’s success with the company has seen her named as one of “New York City’s Most Powerful Women” by Crain’s New York Business, as well as earning her a coveted Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2008.
16. Luke Wood
President of Beats Electronics, Luke Wood, earned his Batcheler of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1991. He’s subsequently built a highly successful career in the music industry, serving in various capacities at Geffen Records (including as director of publicity and director of marketing); as executive vice president of A&R Records at Interscope Records; and latterly, as COO and president of Beats Electronics. While at Beat, Wood has been responsible for securing a $3 billion acquisition deal with Apple. Inc and acquiring the subscription music service MOG in July 2012.
17. Gerald Tsai
Gerald Tsai studied at Wesleyan University for one semester between 1947 and 1948, before obtaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Economics from Boston University in 1949. After graduating, Tsai built a successful, if controversial, career in investment banking. After launching the Fidelity Investments first publicly sold aggressive growth fund, he founded the Manhattan Fund. Despite its initial success, the fund complex collapsed in 1969, losing 90% of their value. Tsai moved on from the catastrophe with a CEO position at the can company, American Can Company, becoming the first Chinese- American CEO of a Dow Jones Industrials company in the process.
18. Jonathan I. Schwartz
Jonathan I. Schwartz has enjoyed remarkable success since graduating with degrees in mathematics and economics from Wesleyan University. His first position of note was as the founder and CEO of Lighthouse Design Company, a software firm specializing in Apple’s NeXTSTEP platform. He subsequently served for 15 years with Sun Microsystems (including as CEO during it’s buy out from Oracle). Schwartz currently serves as the president and CEO of CareZone, a company dedicated to decreasing the cost of prescription medication to sufferers of chronic illness.
19. Gideon Stein
Entrepreneur and former Wesleyan University student Gideon Stein is the founder and CEO of LightSail Education, a literacy platform for k-12 schools, former chairman and CEO of Omnipod, an on-demand provider of real-time messaging, founding partner of MR Ventures, a private investment firm, and CEO of Comedywire, a social media platform for comedians and writers. In addition to his multiple entrepreneurial adventures, Stein also serves as the treasurer of Chalkbeat and as a member of the board of directors for New Classrooms.
20. Tom Rogers
Since graduating from Wesleyan University, media and technology executive Tom Rogers has built a career that’s included such influential highlights as helping design CNBC and MSNBC, managing brands such as New York Magazine, and drafting legislature such as the 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act. In reward for his efforts, Rogers has earned a place in the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, along with an Emmy for his efforts in the development of advanced television and advanced advertising.
Written by Garrett Parker
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