Tom Nielsen ’81 took a leap of faith and decided to transfer from a university in Iowa to Winthrop – never having visited the campus – based solely on the recommendation of friends. It’s a move he never regretted. His brother Dave ’83, ’85, on winter break from the same university in Iowa, visited Tom at Winthrop and he almost immediately decided to transfer. “I more or less followed Tom,” said Dave, but he was impressed with the university’s academic offerings, climate, and the numerous social and cultural offerings.
Tom majored in biology in addition to taking business courses as he had his sights set on becoming a hospital administrator. His courses, in addition to an internship with Piedmont Medical Center, more than prepared him for graduate school at Arizona State University. He later enjoyed a fulfilling career in hospital administration – with stints in Tahoe, Calif., and Kennewick, Wash., until his retirement in 2002.
Dave earned his undergraduate degree in business management and then an M.B.A. He began his career with Norwest Financial (Wells Fargo) and managed branches in North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida where he became national sales manager. He worked his way up the ranks and now serves as a consultant for condominium projects/properties nationwide as a Fannie Mae/FHA project approval subject matter expert.
During a recent visit back to campus, the brothers recalled fond memories and marveled at the campus’ growth. Both worked on campus as resident assistants and were thankful for the opportunities the experiences provided. “We developed many skills including social, personal, leadership, conflict resolution, management, time management and personnel management,” said Dave.
Tom recalled walks to The Shack, the beautiful campus, playing golf at the Winthrop golf course and his fondest memory of “other students teaching a stuffy farm boy from Iowa to dance the shag.”
Tom added that their recent visit to campus brought back lots of memories but it’s clear that one aspect hasn’t changed: “it’s apparent that Winthrop has not lost the friendly feeling since I was last there in 1982.”
Last updated: 4/9/2012