Opening doors in finance

Group photo of Greenleaf Scholarship recipientsWhat started as a hope to increase diversity in the field of financial planning has turned into an opportunity for students at Western Michigan University to experience a scholarship that will make a difference in pursuing their education.

The Greenleaf Trust Scholarship at the Haworth College of Business awards ten scholarships annually to business students studying finance or personal financial planning. The scholarship is open to all students in both majors but is geared toward students in underrepresented ethnic groups.

Over the 19 years that Greenleaf has provided the opportunity, 65 students have received the scholarships.

“When William Johnston, owner and founder of Greenleaf Trust, started the company 20 years ago, he wanted to build a diverse workforce but was discouraged to find out there was a small amount of students from underrepresented minorities graduating from WMU with a finance degree,” says Kim Dudley, human resources specialist at Greenleaf Trust. “He decided he wanted to find a way to change that and has been able to do so through the Greenleaf Trust Scholarship.”

Students receiving the scholarship must maintain a 2.5 GPA, and as long as they continue to meet the criteria, they are able to receive the $12,400 scholarship every year until they graduate, or for up to four years.

“We are so grateful to Greenleaf Trust for continuing to offer this opportunity for our finance and personal financial planning students,” says Dr. Jim DeMello, chair of the WMU Department of Finance and Commercial Law. “We have so many talented finance and personal financial planning students, and have been able to attract even more diversity to the program by offering the scholarship.”

The scholarship also gives students the chance to focus on their academics and develop their skills in the field.

“Receiving the Greenleaf Trust scholarship has alleviated a big financial burden I was facing when I decided to transfer to WMU, says Gerardo Ramos, an accountancy and finance student. “Without having to worry about how I will pay for my education allowed me to focus solely on my academics. Being selected for this scholarship also helped build my confidence that I can succeed at WMU even though I am the first person in my family to attend college.”

Through the scholarship, Greenleaf Trust also provides opportunities for up to three students to intern at the company. Scholars primarily in their junior or senior year have the opportunity to intern for the company for a year, rotating through four divisions: personal trust/wealth management, operations, research and retirement planning. Interns regularly meet with a mentor in each division to get feedback and coaching.

“The Greenleaf Trust scholarship has paved a way for me to become more connected to my career,” says Deja Pryor, a WMU finance student. “Not only has the scholarship assisted me with my college financial needs, but it has also helped me to build my professional skills, practice networking and get hands-on experience in the finance industry. I fell in love with my major all over again being in this program. I am so grateful to be a part of the Greenleaf Trust scholar and intern family.”

2018 Greenleaf Trust Scholarship Recipients

  • Christopher Bailey
  • Natalya Henderson
  • Daniel Lopez
  • Natacha Pierre
  • Deja Pryor
  • Marisol Quiroz
  • Roberto Ramon-Flores
  • Gerardo Ramos
  • Spencer Robertson
  • Julie Schwark