Wohlwend ’81 and Wife Create Scholarship Endowment
Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Steve WohlwendAs a teenager, Steve Wohlwend was recruited to play golf for then-Lander College following a successful career at Irmo High School. His high school teammates John Atkinson, Mel Gaddy and Rex Johnston attended Lander, and after a recruitment trip to Jackson Station, Steve was sold.

Golf may have been the portal for Steve to enter Lander, but the school and campus community ended up having a tremendous impact on his life. He graduated with an accounting degree in 1981, and followed that with an MBA from Mercer University in 1984. With his CPA and Certified Employee Benefits Specialist certification from Wharton School of Business, he spent most of his career with Aetna Insurance in senior management positions. He and his wife, Liz, have three children: Erica, John and Katherine.

Steve’s first home-away-from-home was the Lander apartments, but he also resided in Brookside and Coleman, and he had the full experience of campus life at Lander. In addition to golf, Steve became very involved in student government, eventually serving as student body president. He was also involved in Greek life, serving as president of a newly formed fraternity, Kappa Sigma. “Student life was fantastic,” he said. “Intramurals were fun, and attending basketball games at the Civic Center – with some pre-game fun at the Thunderbird and post-game celebration at Starnes – was a special treat with our great basketball teams and great players like Clinton Cobb and Alonzo Harrison. Sunday mornings with Roger Feaster cooking us breakfast in the dining hall after a long night was especially appreciated. Those four years on campus flew by.”

What may have impressed Steve the most was the personal relationships he developed with professors. Dr. Aron Tannenbaum helped with an internship in Washington D.C., and John Spier taught accounting and what the numbers meant. Dr. Marvin Cann taught history and turned Steve into a Civil War enthusiast. “Dr. Cann was probably the most important professor that I had,” Steve said. “He taught me to view the world through a different prism, which proved very beneficial in both business and personal life.”  

Steve credits Lander as the launching pad for his successful career. 

“The professors taught students to think critically and question things. They really cared about us, and I am very grateful for all the support I received from the faculty and staff. Even the administrative leadership like President Larry Jackson, Doug Spears, Cherry Corbett and Randy Bouknight had a big impact on our college experience.”

Being a member of the Lander Alumni board has allowed Steve to hear impactful stories from other alumni from all generations. “I can sense their pride in Lander as they share stories of making lifelong friends; where the best eating and drinking spots were; having professors that made an impact on their lives; meeting a spouse or significant other. Lander has given so many the opportunity to learn and grow and build confidence to thrive in the world.”  

Several years ago, Steve and a few others endowed a scholarship in memory of ’81 classmate Bill Bonds, who followed Steve as president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After graduation, Bill became an outstanding and beloved football coach, touching many lives before he passed away in 2009. “We have seen the impact of this scholarship on young student lives, which compelled Liz and I to do more.”

For the couple, that desire to do more translated into a $250,000 gift to Lander to endow student scholarships at the university. 

“The last decade has certainly changed the higher education landscape. As alumni, we have a responsibility to create a culture of giving to ensure we sustain and grow, as well as invest in, the future generations to come. Our hope is to appeal to our fellow alumni to lift up the next generation of Lander students with financial support, as Lander helped to lift us up.”

Mike Worley, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of The Lander Foundation, said Lander and its students are grateful for the transformational support shown by the Wohlwend family.

“Endowed student scholarships are one of the measures of a world-class university, and we’re so thankful to Steve and his wife, Liz, for being tremendous ambassadors for Lander,”  Worley said.

 

This story is featured in the Spring 2019 edition of Lander Magazine. Read more at www.lander.edu/magazine.