John Chappell Laughlin '85
Arriving by way of St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Virginia, John Laughlin enrolled at Davidson College in the fall of 1981, following in the footsteps of his older sister Sherburne, to carry on what had become a family tradition. Throughout his four years as a student, John was an active and engaged member in the Davidson College campus community. Most notably, John served as the Student Government Association President, co-chaired the Student Phonathon Campaign, and was a member of the Student Conduct Council and the Council on Campus and Religious Life. John was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society, the Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics honor society, and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. In May 1985, John graduated cum laude with a degree in economics.
Upon graduation, John moved to Winston-Salem and joined Wachovia in their corporate banking division. After three years in Winston-Salem, John decided he "didn't know very much about business" and moved north to receive his Master's in Business Administration from Harvard University. And while he pursued his M.B.A., John met the love of his life, Gail Herrington. Upon graduation, John joined J.P. Morgan Chase's Mergers and Acquisitions Group and ultimately migrated back to Charlotte, North Carolina, to join NationsBank and subsequently Bowles Hollowell Conner and Company in similar capacities. Today, John is the Managing Director and Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Wells Fargo Securities.
And even with all the moves and his professional successes, alma mater continues to remain close to John's heart. Beginning in 1986, John co-chaired the Annual Fund for the Class of 1985 for several years and subsequently served as a class agent. John also served on the committees for his 10th, 15th, and 20th Reunions. For nearly ten years, John kept his classmates connected to the college as well as each other in his role as Class Secretary. His comments and careful editorship reflect a genuine love for his classmates. In 2006, John was invited to join in the college's Board of Visitors and is now serving in his second term. Additionally, John is currently the 2010 National Annual Fund Vice Chair and will assume the role of Chair in 2011.
When asked to describe the difference Davidson has made in his life, John responded, "the Davidson community set my ‘compass' helping me to establish priorities, think harder about the important things, and act upon those thoughts. It made all the difference." And while Davidson shaped and made an impression on John as a student, Davidson has greatly benefitted from the difference John continues to make in the college community each day. It is with great honor and admiration that today we honor John Laughlin for making Davidson successful- for his distinguished and successful career, for his passion for the Davidson experience, for his faithful, unmatched services as an alumnus, and for his dedication to alma mater. Davidson College is proud to present John Chappell Laughlin with this Alumni Service Award.