“As a member of the Advisory Board, it is fascinating to see how the Heider College of Business prepares its students for the future,” says Patty Wiederholt, BSBA’74, MBA. “Heider’s partnership with the business community, how the College solicits the business sector’s input and considers its needs has been very insightful and is beneficial for both parties.”
Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, dean of the Heider College of Business, is in close communication business leaders, says Wiederholt, so the College can best prepare its students for life-long career success. It’s not just about mastering content material. She says business professionals have conveyed a need for increased emphasis on writing, communication and problem-solving skills. College leadership listens and addresses such concerns by exploring possible curriculum changes and seeking input from the Advisory Board.
Wiederholt serves on the board’s admissions sub-committee, which hosts receptions across the country for prospective Creighton students. She is proud of all the changes her alma mater has undergone over the last four decades. She says the physical growth of the campus, expanded opportunities in international studies and an increased number of symposiums and competitions have heaped benefits to current students.
But some things, she maintains, have remained steadfast, such as the University’s emphasis on faith development, the compassion of the school community and the personalized education she and her classmates received. “You are not one of 600 faces in an auditorium,” says Wiederholt. “Professors know you.”
Wiederholt enrolled in the business school during a time when most women sought careers in nursing or education. A career counseling program that Creighton offered to local high school students sparked an early interest in business. She then took economics and accounting courses at Marian High School, which paved the way for a future accounting major.
After graduating from Creighton, Wiederholt briefly entered public accounting before joining Northern Natural Gas. It was the beginning of a long career in the utilities sector. She retired from TransCanada in 2010 but returned to work part time on the Keystone Pipeline project.
Weiderholt joined the Advisory Board three years ago just before fully retiring. She and her husband, Denny, also a Creighton alum (they met in an accounting class), remain connected to the University. The couple has established the Wiederholt Endowed Scholarship, awarded to Heider junior and seniors based on their academic performance, financial need and community service record.
Creighton, Wiederholt maintains, was a “great fit” for her, and the scholarship is another way she can pay it forward to help current Heider students pursue their business degrees like she did forty years ago.