Friday, October 22, 2010

Whitworth strengthens ties with region's business leaders through new executive-in-residence program

First executive-in-residence brings extensive background in global financial management


Duff Bergquist

To further strengthen Whitworth's connections with the region's business leaders and to provide students with practical insight into emerging business trends and practices, the university's School of Global Commerce & Management has established a new executive-in-residence program. Executives selected for the program act as the school's ambassador to the regional business community. Other responsibilities include teaching classes, bringing professionals on campus for guest lectures, and helping shape curriculum to reflect the ever-changing demands of the global economy.

"In today's dynamic global business environment, it's important that universities forge mutually beneficial alliances with business leaders so that we are equipping the next generation of business graduates with the knowledge and skills that are critically needed," says Robert C. Beatty, dean of the School of Global Commerce & Management. "Executives-in-residence will facilitate personal interactions between students and business professionals, ensuring that students gain the practical education they need to successfully compete for positions in a highly-competitive marketplace."

One of the primary roles of the executive-in-residence will be to connect students, faculty and staff at Whitworth to leaders in the region's business, government, charitable and nonprofit sectors. The executive-in-residence also will teach undergraduate and graduate courses; serve as a mentor to business students; help develop new educational programs; seek opportunities for students to support charitable organizations and participate in service projects; oversee research on business issues; and advise the dean on business school goals and development opportunities.

"Since the relative importance of specific job skills and abilities valued by businesses tends to change over time to reflect new employment priorities, we, too, must welcome the opportunity to make strategic changes to our course curriculum based on recommendations from business executives," Beatty says. "Employers are anxious to hire our graduates because they know they have the skills and abilities to make an immediate positive impact within their organizations; we want to make sure we're continuing to cultivate those partnerships."

Duff Bergquist, the first businessperson to hold the executive-in-residence position, brings 15 years of management experience with the world's top financial institutions. An industry expert in global equity trading, Bergquist has spent most of his career working in investment banking in Europe, primarily in Germany and England. At Goldman Sachs, he served as a European equity trader and operations manager, helping to set up equity operations in Frankfurt. He then worked at Credit Suisse-First Boston, where he increased gross revenue of the Swiss trading book from $20 million to $36 million in two years. At Morgan Stanley, where he was European sector head and senior vice president at the London office, he increased top-line revenue by 25 percent in one year. Then, at Lehman Brothers, he served as managing director of pan-European equity trading in London and led a trading desk that ran large proprietary and customer trading businesses. He spent time in Turkey and Italy doing due diligence on acquisitions Lehman was considering in 2006 and 2007. He left Lehman and Europe to return to the U.S. and spend more time with family.

Bergquist studied finance and German at Wirtschafts University, in Vienna, earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and German from Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Ore., and a master's degree in international management with an emphasis in international finance and accounting from the American Graduate School of International Business, in Glendale, Ariz.

Bergquist says he came to Whitworth because the executive-in-residence position enables him to give back to the community and because he was heavily involved in recruiting during his career and felt that he could help students be better prepared for and more successful in their job searches.

"I have the experience to help Whitworth leverage the "global" in its School of Global Commerce & Management, and I want to use this insight to help students think more strategically about their time at Whitworth," Bergquist says. "I'm also excited to serve as a resource for the school in my area of expertise and to help Whitworth engage the business community in Spokane and the surrounding region."

Beatty says he selected Bergquist for the position because of his solid reputation as a global finance expert, his skills as an educator, and his established connections with influential business leaders, among other qualities.

"Students constantly comment on how much they enjoy Duff's classes because they know they're getting practical insight into core financial topics that will prepare them for successful careers," Beatty says. "And as a person of strong Christian faith, he is helping to ensure that students develop strong ethical and Christian values that they will bring to the workplace."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Robert C. Beatty, dean, School of Global Commerce & Management, Whitworth University (509) 777-4567, or rbeatty@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.