It was the values-based education at High Point University that drew Alex Nelson here as a hopeful freshman – that of free enterprise, patriotism and individual initiative that the university celebrates.
Four years later, those same values send him into the world as a financial advisor with Edward Jones.
On campus, Nelson came to embody the entrepreneurial spirit and sought to instill it in others as a campus leader. Now, the journey at HPU is complete, but a new one that he mapped during his time here is just beginning. Nelson recently accepted his position with the financial services firm that’s ranked No. 6 on Fortune magazine’s 2015 “100 Best Companies to Work For.” With Commencement a few weeks away, he, like many graduates, heads toward a bright future. But he also leaves to continue the mission of inspiring others in his personal and professional life.
During his four years on campus, the Clayton, North Carolina native hasn’t let any opportunity pass him by. He has been the Class of 2015 president since his freshman year, is a University Ambassador, Peer Mentor, member of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication Student Advisory Board and has made the Dean’s List every semester. He landed prestigious internships with Caterpillar, Inc. where he gained experience for his future career. He learned valuable lessons outside the classroom from thought leaders, roundtable discussions and more.
“I’ve been impacted through having the opportunity to hear presentations and ask questions of thought leaders like John Maxwell and Kelly King. The principles and ideals that they spoke about inspired me to want to continue to develop into a more impactful leader.”
Nelson says the holistic education he received at HPU – which incorporated learning and experience in every aspect of his life as a student – was exemplified by Thaddeus Ostrowski, instructor of religion and philosophy.
“Professor Ostrowski instructed my Social Ethics class my sophomore year,” says the communication major. “Not only did he offer a unique teaching style that encouraged intellectual curiosity, but he was interested in me as a person – my background and my future. He created an interest in me to learn more about one of his passions: social ethics. As a senior nearing graduation, he still calls me by name.”
Nelson also took time to volunteer as much as he could through the Board of Stewards, and has been on six mission trips to Haiti since middle school. Together, he says, all these experiences – club involvement, leadership roles, inspirational events, community service, caring professors and more – paved the way for a successful and significant post-grad life.
“HPU exposed me to a breadth of opportunities, enabling me to further develop life skills that set me and other HPU students apart from the competition,” Nelson says. “The university realizes that we’re competing on a global platform, and they model values and behaviors that can’t be taught in a classroom.”
After graduation, Nelson will move to Edward Jones’ headquarters in St. Louis to participate in the company’s Financial Advisor Career Development Program. Upon completion, he’ll return home to North Carolina to begin his business with Edward Jones. He says he looks forward to tailoring financial services to meet his clients’ needs, and hopes he has served as a model to other HPU students during his four years on campus.
“When peers ask me for advice on how to be successful as a student at HPU, my answer remains the same: find your passion, get involved in an organization that supports your passion and work towards leadership roles within that organization,” says Nelson. “You have access to leadership roles, tools, resources and mentors who are committed to your development and success. If you invest the time and take advantage of the people and resources available to you at HPU, you’ll be positioned in a way that will set you apart.”