Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Less than three short weeks after my seventeenth birthday, I gave the valedictory address at my high school graduation in Wyoming.
Two weeks later, I was off to college four hours away, as a very young freshman studying Interior Design and Philosophy at BYU, green, naive, impressionable, and very wide-eyed about being on a campus of 25,000 students when I had just graduated top in a class of 29.
I was a last-minute addition to summer term that year, having been awarded a scholarship to come early, in addition to the Presidential Scholarship they had already given me (at the time, the top scholarship, historically named after the current LDS Church President, was offered only to men, much to the chagrin of my father).
On the recommendation of a friend, I moved into an apartment at Campus Plaza for the summer, just off campus, where six of us, two from Boston, two from Salt Lake, an Arizonian and I, were crammed together in a very small space, with four beds in one bedroom and two in the other. One of my roommates, somewhat older, had graduated from Hillcrest High School in Salt Lake City, and thought it would be a splendid idea if I'd write to a friend and former classmate of hers from high school who was at the time serving as a missionary in in upstate New York, Rochester and Palmyra.
She pulled out her yearbook and showed me a picture. He seemed nice enough, with strong, chiseled features and piercing eyes; her description of him as a friend was equally persuasive, and I was happy to oblige.
I enjoyed the letters exchanged for the next few months. Sterling was a gifted writer and a faithful correspondent, and clearly had leadership skills. He was at the time assistant to the president of the mission, and when then LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball made a visit to the mission, Sterling had much to do with the arrangements. I still recall his words from that time.
Sterling returned to BYU after his mission and completed his studies, active in student government. He went on to get a master's degree in business and entered the world of finance.
In his lifetime, Sterling has been a financial analyst for Ford Motor Company and Portfolio Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Investment Department, in addition to managing trusts and investments for various other firms. He is currently Regional Managing Director for Wells Capital Management, a division of Wells Fargo & Company, responsible for over $4 billion in combined assets under management. He is recognized as a leading investment and finance authority in the Intermountain West.