Some of my fondest memories from college involve the ScanTron grading machine, Professor Garrison, and cookies. We would enjoy cookies while chatting and running tests through the machine, we would share a chuckle when a particular test made the constant buzz sound (not a good result), but she would immediately grab the test and take time to reach out to the student to find out what they needed to be successful. She always wanted each student to grasp the basics of finance and went out of her way to share her knowledge and provide innovative ways for students to connect to the material.
From that TA experience I gained a love for finance, which resulted in me changing my major from management to finance, even though I thought it might be “too difficult” (that was something she wouldn’t allow me to claim).
Professor Garrison continued to inspire me to aim higher throughout my college career. She encouraged me to interview for and take the prestigious portfolio management course, guided me in landing an internship at Goldman Sachs, and sat next to me as I graduated as the Outstanding Senior for the Eller College in December 2002. I will forever remember the moment sitting on stage at graduation with her when she told me that she couldn’t have been prouder of me. I cherish that memory and will for a lifetime.
After graduation, I began my career in corporate finance at Intel Corporation (which I completely owe to Professor Garrison as she signed me up for the interview without my knowledge!), and I’m still here today. Twelve years later, I’m now a finance manager. Over the years I’d visit a few times a year during recruiting events on campus and when she began working primarily off campus we would meet up at Beyond Bread (a shared favorite). Each session I was challenged to pursue the next opportunity, to take smart risks, and to enjoy the little things in life. I truly owe my success to her constant mentoring, and for her never letting me settle for “good enough.”
When I think back on my memories of Professor Garrison, I’m reminded of her constant positive attitude and her loyalty to her students. She will certainly be missed, but never forgotten. Her legacy lives on not only in me, but of the thousands of students whose lives she touched.
My heart breaks that she didn’t get to fully enjoy her much deserved retirement and to spend those golden years with her amazingly dedicated husband, Mike, but I know that she’s looking down on us all, with her signature smile, cookie in hand and she’s telling us all to go make the best of each and every day!