February 2023 • Edition 18
Wharton Impact is honoring Black History Month in this edition with three stories from the latest Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference. Learn how to grow your legacy from alumni honoree David R. Jones, WG’93; read how the conference celebrates the importance of Black leadership; and hear from Hettie Simmons Love, WG’47, one of the first African American MBA graduates of the Wharton School.
Honoring Black Leadership and Legacy
“Let’s give back so we can all rise together,” said David R. Jones, WG’93, co-founder, president, and CEO of CastleOak Securities, L.P., one of the largest Black-owned boutique investment banks on Wall Street. Jones received the 2022 Alumni Honoree award at the 49th Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference, where he spoke to Wharton MBA students, faculty, and guests about the enduring legacy of his career.
Jones is an alumnus with many achievements, including 30 years of Wall Street experience. He also has the distinction of running a minority-owned investment bank with a range of financial services in areas such as M&A advisory, capital markets, equity sales and trading, and fixed-income sales and trading. Yet his focus on the night of the conference’s gala was on the students in attendance. “I remember being here 30-plus years ago as a prospective student and being in awe,” Jones said. “I’m honored to be in front of the next generation of leaders who will inspire us all.”
Acknowledging the conference’s theme of celebrating the advancement of Black legacy and empowerment, Jones said, “Too many of our youth don’t see people like me — or you.” He said he saw Black achievement firsthand in mentors and from his father, who was chairman of the board for a Black-owned bank and founder of an accounting firm. “I am here because I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and succeeded against much tougher odds,” he said.
Jones fully expects CastleOak Securities to outlast him and hopes his legacy will live on through the hard work and expertise of his employees, the millions of dollars in charitable donations CastleOak has made since its inception, and the firm’s analyst and internship programs that have launched dozens of Wall Street careers for underrepresented young people.
Jones stated that CastleOak’s employee base is nearly 50 percent women and minorities. “CastleOak deserves a seat at the table.” And he acknowledged the positive impact that his Wharton education has had on his life and career. “Some of my closest friends — and even some of my rivals — are Wharton grads.”
Jones assured the students at the gala, “Your reputation is your best calling card. Protect it.”
In closing, he added: “Don’t wait until retirement to start building a legacy.”
New Fund Expands Opportunity for
African American Students
The 49th Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference brought together Wharton students, alumni, faculty, and professionals to celebrate Wharton’s African American community. Unveiling a major new gift to support African American students, the event included two days of panels and networking, all with the goal of advancing the African American legacy at Wharton.
Wharton Celebrates Hettie Simmons Love
With Named Award
When she enrolled at Wharton, Hettie Simmons Love, WG’47, was not just the School’s sole African American student, but one of only two women in her class. In honor of her 100th birthday, Simmons Love attended the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference to celebrate an award in her honor. She spoke to Wharton Impact to share her incredible journey.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this newsletter identified Hettie Simmons Love as Wharton’s first African-American MBA alumnus. Although she had at least one predecessor, her legacy as a trailblazer endures.