Retired Wharton Grads Redefine ‘Emeritus’
- by Bob Natiello
Emeritus, despite being a centuries-old Latin word, has never fallen from use. But if you’re restricting its meaning to retired, past-their-prime university professors, abandon that notion at once. To be sure, college deans, prior university presidents and honored directors are proud to see emeritus trailing their names.
But at Penn, older Wharton alumni have seized upon the word and embodied it in a vibrant group officially titled the Wharton Graduate Emeritus Society (WGES).
The WGES comprises active, involved MBA alumni who left Wharton decades ago with the same boldness as today’s grads. Yet these older alumni still maintain a willingness to help younger alums climb the ladder of success.
“We’ve been there,” says Tom Vincent, WG’56, WGES’ communications committee chairman. “We’ve been through it all and we believe that our experience and knowledge are assets to be shared.” Tom worked for 30 years at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, eventually rising to senior vice president. He then ran his own international company, Marketing a la Carte Ltd.
Watch the Wharton Graduate Emeritus Society in action in the above video, “Wharton Campus Tour: Then and Now.”
Wharton founded the WGES in 2003 with the primary purpose of tightening bonds with senior alumni. If you’re celebrating your 45th reunion or later, consider lending a hand to one of WGES’ seven committees. Plan speaking programs, for instance. Informative sessions led by Wharton faculty and notable alumni don’t just happen; they need arranging. Pitch in and help manage the alumni community as purposeful, dedicated ambassadors. Or leverage your experience as a 20th century business leader to provide career advice to 21st century graduates.
“We’ve accumulated skills that cut across industries,” says Milt Silver, EE’50, WG’52, chairman of the Mentor Committee and a Drexel University professor with wide-ranging experience in teaching, writing and consulting.
“While we’re eager to share them with everyone,” Silver continues, “we find two groups most active in choosing from our mentoring buffet. The older age group seeks counsel in career changing. The younger age group, more entrepreneurially inclined, is looking for ways to start a business.”
Silver sees the opportunity to give back to these earlier Wharton generations as his personal fountain of youth.
Myron Weiner, WG’51, proclaimed the best of Silver’s mentoring spirit in his Wharton Magazine blog titled “There’s No Such Thing As Retirement.” The life stretch that the average person calls retirement, Weiner insightfully calls “Third Age.” And while retirement stands alongside the last thing a current or mature Wharton MBA is likely to be interested in, Weiner holds, the Third Age may be just the perfect spot where WGES and its inspiring members can be helpful.
Editor’s note: For more information about the Wharton Graduate Emeritus Society, visit the WGES website.