It Takes a (Westminster) Village: Alumnus Reflects on Key Westminster Relationships That Led to His Success

Benjamin Morrow, ’21 ΦΔΘ, was one of only 100 students accepted this fall into Washington University’s competitive Quantitative Finance master’s degree program ― a fact he attributes to his Westminster education.

Morrow also is the 2021-2022 recipient of the Dr. Maude Etheredge Graduate Fellowship through the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, which recognizes first-year academic success.

The native of Sullivan, MO, who is one of only 26 Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship recipients nationwide, recently sat down with Westminster Monthly to reflect on his fellowship and Westminster education.

Morrow says his passions for both finance and math were nurtured at the College since the summer before his freshman year, when Karen Thompson-Wolfe, Director of the Learning Opportunities Center, began advising him.

Thompson-Wolfe listened carefully when Morrow discussed his desire to become a certified public accountant like his mother. She also took note of his love of math and encouraged him to branch out and take Calculus II in addition to the requirements for a degree in Finance. The decision ended up shaping his entire future.

“I met with Karen again for spring 2018 advising, and she opened my eyes to the opportunities that an added math major would bring to graduate school and my career,” he explains.

In keeping with Westminster’s advising practices, Mary Majerus, PhD, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, became Morrow’s faculty advisor for his Mathematics major. Majerus later helped him find the best graduate schools for his interests and to narrow down his search when his choice came down to the Actuary and Risk Management program at Ohio State University and the Quantitative Finance program through Washington University’s Olin School of Business.

“She became such a knowledgeable resource for me to lean on,” Morrow says, adding that when he finally finalized his choice, Majerus was just as excited as Morrow.

Throughout his Westminster experience, Morrow was involved in an astonishing number of activities and leadership opportunities: He was President of his fraternity, Grand Marshal of the Skulls of Seven, President of the Oath and Values Board, and Vice President of the Math Club. He served as a Freshman Mentor, Student Ambassador, and Accounting Tutor. Morrow also belonged to five honor societies, including Alpha Lambda Delta. He also was a member of the Blue Blazers Investment Committee.

With his impressive list of accomplishments in mind, Morrow is quick to point out that his most important experiences were the relationships he developed in both the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and in his classes. He says fraternity advisor William Whitlow, ’69 ΦΔΘ, and Dr. Carolyn Perry, Professor of English, were both important mentors who helped him develop leadership skills and cheer him on.

“My academics flourished because of Westminster’s professors, faculty, and staff,” Morrow reflects. “And my character, leadership, and involvement grew because of my fraternity.”

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.