Geoff Cardner, Class of 1993
Geoff Cardner serves as the Vice President of Investments at Sun Life in Hong Kong. He graduated from UNH in 1993 with a degree in Business Administration and Economics. As an alumnus of the Honors Program, Geoff has supported the program by beginning both the Facebook page and Linked In group in an effort to connect alumni and students. He also played a role in the 25th anniversary reunion. Below Geoff speaks to his experience in the Honors Program and offers advice for fellow alumni/ae and current students.
For the past two years, I have been living in Hong Kong with my wife (also a UNH grad) and two kids. Even though I am halfway around the world, I still feel a strong connection to UNH and the Honors Program.
Raised in Londonderry, New Hampshire most of my life, I consider myself a New Englander and a NH boy at heart. I grew up hiking the White Mountains, exploring the Seacoast and the Isles of Shoals, competing at the Paul Sweet oval (UNH indoor track), and running on cross country courses all over the state. It was this strong connection to the state that made me want to pursue my education there.
Nonetheless, selecting an undergraduate program can be a daunting task. I was impressed by WSBE’s program and I was confident that it would give me a great education. However, I wanted to max out my academic experience and so when I learned that the Honors Program had a spot for me, my decision was sealed.
I feel passionate about the UNH Honors Program because of the many fond memories that it gave me. My first honors course was World History with Hans Heilbronner. He recounted his escape from Nazi Germany, turning history into reality. Years later, I am still moved by that course. I elected to pursue the Honors-in-Major program to add focus to my business studies but it was not an easy decision to make because the courses were so interesting.
Pursuing an undergraduate degree can be stressful so it was discouraging and humbling to be sitting during my graduation ceremony without a job. The New England economy was beginning to recover but still very weak when I graduated in 1993. I remember fighting senioritis to finish my honors thesis while my friends were already out celebrating. It was agony. However, a few weeks later, I interviewed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
I felt especially prepared for my interview. My thesis was about the troubled banking industry. It gave me a lot to talk about. I was offered a bank examiner trainee position. I think the Honors Program students are attractive to employers because the students are willing to put in the additional time and effort to do more.
I find it remarkable that many years later I still discover people that were involved in the Honors Program during my years at UNH. Larry Gingrow, a hometown friend, contacted me a couple of years ago asking me if I was available to help with the 25 year reunion. We had both graduated from the program and didn’t even know it! It was a lot of fun to be back on campus and to be part of the reunion effort was truly rewarding.
Without e-mail or the Internet, it was a little harder for students to stay connected when I was at school. I can see that there is a stronger sense of community now that students and alumni are using platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
In terms of advice to current students, I would encourage them to stay with the program while at UNH and keep the community strong after graduation. Don’t be intimidated by the honors thesis. There are a lot of supporters of the UNH Honors Program. Contact them for help and ideas.
The current economy is much worse than when I graduated. I am concerned about budget cuts to the program as well as the career prospects for students. I would ask alumni who are in a position to do so to think about donating to the program, forwarding a current student’s resume to a person that may be able to do something with it, or responding to a student/alum request for help. Work experience and internships are invaluable so I would also ask alum to consider posting internships and job opportunities on UNH Honors Program forums such as LinkedIn. Each of us can think of a person who has made a difference in our lives; why not be that person?