Gary Wilson

Every non-profit organization needs that one special person who takes them under his wing – nurtures them – tells his friends about them – brings his family to see them – spends countless hours with them – and oh yes, funds them.  For Strive this one special person is Gary Wilson.

For almost 20 years now Mr. Wilson has done all this and so much more.  Far more valuable than the funding he has provided has been the patience & understanding, the talks, travel and time he has generously given us.  Throughout it all his refrain has been “how can we serve more kids – more kids – more kids ?  I emphasize his patient understanding because he has been gracious in allowing that volume is not the key to effectively helping our students – quality is.  Mr. Wilson has enabled us to develop and deliver quality to our students.

In the last few years Mr. Wilson has provided challenge grant funds that enabled us to raise more than $1.3 million.  His faith in our efforts cannot be measured.  One thing that can be measured….between students, staff & extended family coming in and out of Strive every day there are hundreds of souls improving their lives & benefiting from his committed involvement.  We all thank you Mr. Wilson.

And a little about his career.
Mr. Wilson structures and finances large transactions including the acquisition of Northwest Airlines; Northwest’s purchase of Continental Airlines; and Progress Rail.  He also is the creator and general partner of private equity funds including Manhattan Pacific Partners, an investment fund; Thayer Lodging, a hotel investor; and Clarity China, which invests in Chinese companies.

Mr. Wilson previously served as co-chairman of Northwest Airlines from 1991 to 1997, and was chairman from  1997 to 2007.

Mr. Wilson joined The Walt Disney Company in 1985 and served as executive vice president and chief financial officer and director until 1990.  He continued as a director until 2006.  Before joining Disney, Wilson served for 11 years in executive positions at Marriott Corp., including executive vice president and chief financial officer responsible for strategic planning, financial management and corporate development and operating responsibility for Marriott’s In-Flight Catering Division.

Earlier, he was executive vice president and a director of Trans-Philippines Investment Corp., a Manila-based industrial complex with holdings in sugar, mining and heavy construction.

A native of Alliance, Ohio, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1962.  He received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1963.  He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Pepperdine University in 2005.

He is a Trustee Emeritus of Duke University and serves on the Board of Overseers of The Keck School of Medicine at The University of Southern California.  He is a member of the NCAA Leadership Advisory Board and on the Advisory Board of NeoSpire, Inc.  He is also a director of Yahoo! Inc. and CB Richard Ellis.