Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker
Jeffrey L. Wigbels, ’76, B.S., CIMA, SIMC
Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Cancer Survivor
Jeffrey L. Wigbels has more than thirty years of financial experience, is a cancer survivor, and the recipient of the prestigious M.D. Anderson “Making Cancer History” Award. Wigbels joins the ranks of T. Boone Pickens and Laura Bush in receiving this honor. He challenged cancer by supporting state-of-the-art Targeted Research for lung cancer.
Wigbels served in the U.S. Air Force in South East Asia from 1968-72. During his tour, he decided he would pursue a college education. The Spring Lake, New Jersey, native had just one problem; his academic performance in high school was less than satisfactory. Luckily for Wigbels, Penn State York accepted him as a provisional student in 1972 and allowed him a year to prove himself. Wigbels was determined to succeed. He had to make up seven high school classes (earning A’s and B’s), in addition to taking a full schedule of college-level courses and working two jobs. To this day, he is thankful for the opportunity the campus provided him.
Despite his busy schedule, Wigbels still found time to form the first chapter of Chi Gamma Iota, a fraternity for veterans, which later spread to other college campuses. His days at Penn State York, spent with his fellow veterans, remain some of his fondest memories. Wigbels has helped arrange several reunions of the group over the years.
Wigbels holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Penn State and did his first two years of study at Penn State York. He credits his positive experiences at Penn State York for making his eventual transition to the University Park campus much easier. Wigbels is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Distinguished Investment Management Analyst Program and is a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA).
In his professional career, Wigbels consults and advises clients in helping to develop investment policy, reviewing manager due diligence, selecting independent investment advisers, establishing global strategic and tactical asset allocation, as well as evaluating and monitoring performance. He is active in the three most prominent and respected investment management associations, the Association of Professional Investment Consultants (APIC), the Investment Management Consulting Association (IMCA), and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
Wigbels faced his biggest challenge on October 11, 2006, when he was diagnosed with late-stage, metastasized non-small cell, non-smoking lung cancer (lung, abdomen, neck, and the brain). History showed he had months to survive. The VERY NEXT MORNING he and his wife Tiffany delivered their son, Jack. Rather than “standard of care” treatment, he sought help at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with Dr. Roy S. Herbst, one of the leaders of Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer Research. Wigbels started treatment in December 2006 and by August 2008, the only cancer evident in his body was a tumor in his lung, which had shrunk to half its original size. Today he is cancer free and is watching his children grow up thanks to the medical teams at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Yale Cancer Center, Mass General, and Targeted Therapy. He has founded the Wigbels/Dr. Herbst Lung Cancer Research at M.D. Anderson, as well as TakeAimAtCancer.org, and has raised more than $10 million for state-of-the-art cancer research.
His professional memberships include the National Association for Corporate Directors (NACD), and the Investment Management Consulting Association (IMCA). He is a lecturer at the Penn State Graduate School of Business and a faculty member in Morgan Stanley’s Consulting Group University Graduate Program. He is also active in his community with numerous organizations and is the founder of the Georgia Foundation for Athletic Excellence (GFAE).
He resides in Atlanta, with his family, which includes his wife, Tiffany, and children, Ava and Jack.
My Life’s Quotes
Jeffrey L. Wigbels, ’76
- Whom shall I send and who will go for us? Here I am…send me. (The Bible)
- I don’t owe money to the banks. I am not running for office. I am not a public company. I don’t give a damn what anybody says. I am going to do what’s right. Not many people have that luxury.
- Duty-Honor-Country: Never lie, cheat, or steal. (Jeff’s Dad)
- Nothing’s impossible. Get the damn job done.
- You can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you may get what you need. (Rolling Stones)
- When you give up your dream, you die.
- Life should be led like a Calvary Charge!
- A gentleman…keeps his word…keeps his friends…keeps his head, when the whiff of panic is in the air.
- If you don’t have anything to do, don’t do it here. (SEA-1969)
- My run will only end when cancer stops…I can and I will run forever.
- You are or you are not.
- Cancer has shown me a gift of God, and I am going to share that with whoever needs help.
- If you whine you get nothing. (Ask Jeff’s kids)
- It is not what they say about you, it’s what they say about you when they whisper.
- I don’t want cancer to be an excuse for anything, so listen up kids — today we celebrate life, tomorrow we fight. This battle will continue until cancer is gone. I will have made this promise to you…my family.
- I don’t look in the rear view mirror. Obstacles, opportunities, and experiences are in front of you.
- Four hours of playing golf with someone really exposes their character.
- Integrity has but two percentages: 0 or 100. You can’t be just a little bit honest. (Jeff’s Dad)