The Belk College of Business honored four alumni and friends for their accomplishments, service and dedication to the college during the virtual 2020 Belk College Alumni Awards on Nov. 11.
The sixth annual Belk College Alumni Awards ceremony, sponsored by the Belk College Alumni Council, was broadcast through UNC Charlotte’s Livestream and Belk College’s social media channels.
Honorees were celebrated during the awards, which also recognized past award recipients as well as the college’s 50th anniversary. The ceremony was hosted by Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer.
“While we could not celebrate in person this year, we are pleased to recognize our distinguished and diverse group of honorees on an even larger stage with a virtual program,” Troyer said. “Please join me in congratulating these outstanding business leaders for their achievements. We are proud to call them alumni, friends and advocates.”
Distinguished Alumni Award
Verl Purdy ‘73 received the Belk College’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Purdy – who was among the first graduates of the Belk College’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program – has had a distinguished career as a business leader and executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
A West Virginia native, he spent nearly 20 years in senior management positions at B.F. Goodrich Chemicals, FMC, BASF and Rio Tinto Zinc Chemicals before founding AGDATA, which became the largest agricultural data marketing company in the world. In 2011, he and his family started Cadrillion Capital, which invests and grows companies in the healthcare information sector.
A West Virginia University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, he co-chaired a fundraising campaign that raised more than $1.2 billion. Charlotte Country Day School’s Purdy Center for Science and Mathematics is named in recognition of Purdy and his family.
“Fortunately, I was born to wonderful parents that insisted that we get an education, and that involved walking up the hollow about a mile from our farm to this one-room school,” Purdy says. “It was a journey from that one-room school with no running water and no electricity and a coal fire in the middle to my life today.”
The award celebrates alumni who have had a transforming influence on the college and the community over a lifetime.
Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Leigh Goller ‘93 received the Distinguished Service Award. Goller is the chief audit, risk and compliance officer for Duke University and Health System.
Goller, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Belk College, serves as a member of the Turner School of Accountancy’s Advisory Board. Throughout her career, she has worked as an advocate to hire Belk College accounting graduates.
She also was a strong supporter of the Thomas C. Turner fundraising campaign. The award recognizes outstanding service to the Belk College.
“Being involved with the college has kept me rooted where I came from,” Goller says. “I'm very appreciative of the opportunities that I've had as a result of my education here. So the opportunity to continue giving back has kept me grounded to where I started from, and that's really that's really important to me.”
Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Jane Wu ‘07 is an investor and real estate developer with 15 years of experience in finance and real estate development industries.
She founded and serves as president of Panorama Holdings, which specializes in real estate development, investment, finance, and consultation. She has received several awards, including the 2018 Charlotte Business Journal Heavy Hitters Award, and is active in economic development activities locally and internationally.
Wu, originally from Chengdu, China, earned a Master of Science in Mathematical Finance from the Belk College. She is also an Executive MBA graduate of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
“It feels great to be recognized by my home school,” Wu says. “I think one thing that really helped me is always work hard and think big.”
The award recognizes an alumnus/a who is under 40, has demonstrated achievement, and shows a promising future in business.
Honorary Alumni Award
Malcomb Coley, U.S.-Central region growth market leader and Charlotte managing partner for EY, received the Honorary Alumni Award.
Coley, a member of the Belk College Board of Advisors, oversees the Carolinas region and approximately 1,800 people. In addition to his client service responsibilities, Coley is significantly involved in the inclusiveness efforts for the Southeast region.
Under his guidance, EY was the first firm to support the Department of Accountancy’s Thomas C. Turner fundraising campaign, which raised more than $5.2 million in gifts and commitments.
Coley also co-chaired a diversity initiative that has helped to expose minority high school and college students to careers in accounting by introducing them to members of Charlotte’s accounting community.
“Charlotte is one of EY’s fastest growing regions, and our collaboration with Belk College faculty has been crucial to supporting this growth,” Coley says. “We’ve partnered to grow together, especially offering innovative solutions in growth areas such as digital analytics.”
The award recognizes individuals who, while not graduates of the Belk College, have made significant contributions to its leadership, vision and educational mission.
The Belk College of Business Alumni Awards program, which is usually held during Homecoming, is one of several events this academic year that are being held in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary.
Green and Gold Drive Business
The Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte has been driving business for more than 50 years. Established in 1970, the college offers outstanding business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is one of the Carolinas’ largest business schools, with more than 4,600 students, over 100 full-time faculty, and more than 33,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving business at belkcollege.uncc.edu, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.