The Path to Pay it Forward
Robert C. Greeley ’70 and his wife Celeste established a scholarship that helps business students on the path to success beyond U of I
A deep respect for David Kendrick, dean of the then-College of Business, along with fond memories of the University of Idaho, motivated Robert C. Greeley ’70 and his wife Celeste to establish a scholarship that helps other business students on the path to success beyond U of I.
"This scholarship began as a payback in May 1967 while I walked back to campus from a College of Business awards luncheon with Dean Kendrick,” Greeley said, remembering how he secured his own scholarship from U of I, “a check in my pocket that assured me I would return to Moscow that fall."
Greeley received that check thanks to the C.W. Moore Scholarship, which he received his sophomore through senior years at U of I. The scholarship, paired with Kendrick’s encouragement, inspired Greeley to maintain the award’s required 3.0 GPA in order to graduate in the fall of 1970.
That hard work paid off. Only one day after graduation, Greeley had two job offers: work in Spokane as an insurance agent or move to California and work for Wells Fargo Bank.
After staring at the several inches of fresh snow covering U of I’s Moscow campus that December, the promise of warmer weather led Greeley to San Francisco to begin a 13-year stint with the banking giant. It was there he met Celeste, who worked as an auditor. They married in 1980.
Greeley found himself at another crossroads upon completing his Master of Business Administration from nearby Golden Gate University.
“At that point, I decided that I would never run Wells Fargo,” Greeley said. “I made the decision to go into business for myself.”
In 1983, Greeley founded and became the principal consultant of Greeley, Lindsay Consultant Group, a corporate management and consulting firm in Sacramento that serves a specialized niche.
“I work for both state and federal judges as a court-appointed receiver … mainly taking control of failing businesses with the goal of making those businesses successful,” he said. “I would not be able to do the work I do had I not had the support and education I received at U of I.”
In 2007, the Greeleys established a scholarship as a way to pay U of I back for all the support Robert received. They established the scholarship with an initial amount and then added to it each year so that it now provides over $2,500 annually to one or more full-time undergraduate students pursuing a College of Business and Economics degree.
“We recently included the university in our will to ensure the scholarship we set up will continue to grow for the benefit of future students,” he said.
Even for those who can’t contribute financially now, the Greeleys encourage their fellow alumni to get involved to continue their U of I experience and help students.
“Alumni have an opportunity to take initiative,” he said.
And that’s exactly what the Greeleys continue to do. It’s born out of the support from a caring mentor and the scholarships Greeley received as a U of I student, which led to his first job offers and the path that enables him to help future generations of Vandals pursue their own passions.
“I would not be able to do the work I do had I not had the support and education I received at U of I.”Robert C. Greeley ‘70
Article by Josh Nishimoto, University Advancement
Published in the fall 2018 issue of Here We Have Idaho.