Helping Others Bank on Business
By Michelle Valigursky, Tania Dowdy
The word legacy often symbolizes tradition that passes from one generation to the next, but it can also represent the actions of an individual who inspires others to follow his lead. John W. Spiegel 65MBA continues to build such a legacy at Emory and Goizueta Business School.
As the recipient of the 2013 J. Pollard Turman Alumni Service Award, Spiegel is particularly honored because, he says, “Pollard was a friend. Though we were of different generations, he always addressed me as a friend and as a partner in whatever we were working on.”
Spiegel’s support of Emory is widely recognized. “It’s been important in my life to give back to Emory, the same way they gave to me,” he says. “They gave me an opportunity to be excited about learning and a foundation off of which I was able to build in business. Emory is not just a campus, it’s not just teachers. It is a place of excitement, of learning, and growth. And that’s all special.”
In support of Spiegel’s Turman Award nomination, Lawrence Benveniste, dean of Goizueta, said, “[He] has been one of our most loyal and committed alums. He has stepped up in numerous capacities including volunteer fund-raising, serving on our Dean’s Advisory Board and being a very significant and special adviser to the dean. John’s commitment to Goizueta Business School is unsurpassed.”
Spiegel continues to provide support for growth within Goizueta by serving as an admission volunteer and mentor. He believes that no matter what phase you enter in your career, “you still have role models that you look up to. You learn from watching them, listening to them, seeing how they live their lives and what is good and not so good.”
Spiegel recognizes the value of mentors as he, too, had his own role models as a student.
“It’s just an important part of my life to be able to give back not just to the school but the individuals in the school—the students and faculty,” he says.
Spiegel is the retired vice chairman and chief financial officer of SunTrust Banks, one of the nation’s largest commercial banking organizations. During his forty-year tenure at SunTrust, Spiegel was responsible for the company’s finance-related functions including accounting, funds management, risk management, strategic finance and taxes, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, and the treasury unit. He also serves as a board member and leader for various corporations, charitable institutions, professional organizations, and museums.
Spiegel is a committed donor and an active volunteer with service to the Association of Emory Alumni Leadership Committee, Emory Board of Visitors, as chair of the Goizueta Leadership Alliance Initiative, and the Goizueta Advisory Board.
Established in 1998, the Turman Alumni Service Award is one of the highest honors of the Emory Alumni Association. J. Pollard Turman 34C 36L was an influential humanitarian whose support of higher education and cultural organizations benefited institutions throughout Georgia. In 1996, through the generosity of the Tull Charitable Foundation (an organization Turman helped form) Emory established the award to pay tribute to his lifelong contributions to the university. In 2005 the Tull Charitable Foundation significantly elevated its level of financial support to Emory through a pledge to donate $25,000 annually in honor of the Turman Award recipient.