By Sarah Horn — Dr. Gregg Whittaker is a full-time finance and economics professor at Jewell. His interests and achievements reach far beyond the classroom and, with a colorful and successful past, he remains active in many outside endeavors.
Dr. Whittaker grew up in a small town in northeastern
Colorado, and was always “all about baseball”. He aspired to play
professionally and was able to walk on to Colorado State University’s baseball team. It wasn’t until the end of his second year in college that he decided to get serious about school and fell in love with economics. After graduation from Colorado State, he earned masters and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He wrote his dissertation while working at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. This is where he met and started dating his wife whom he thought was “out of his league”. After completing his dissertation he took a job at Northern Trust in Chicago for two years and then spent the next five years working at various financial institutions in New York, settling at Chase in 1994.
When taking the job at Chase, Dr. Whittaker and his wife agreed that after five more years of working in the city they would move to the Midwest to raise their family. With three children at this point and working 70 hours a week, he decided that teaching would be much more conducive to raising a family. So in 1999 he called his father-in-law in Overland Park, Kansas and asked for the names of good colleges in the area. His father-in-law gave him only one name – William Jewell College. Dr. Whittaker sent an email to the chair of the business department at Jewell and received a reply the same day informing him that the finance professor had just resigned. The next day Whittaker flew to Liberty for an interview, and he has been on staff since.
Dr. Whittaker has had an entrepreneurial spirit all his life – he even had a construction business in high school that put him through college – and becoming a professor has not slowed him down. He continues to work with start-up companies at their “seed” stage helping them fully develop their concept and business model and attain funding. Businesses he is currently working with include TerraManus, an agricultural innovation company, American Channel, a regional sports network, and Ashima Devices, which most recently developed a personal surveillance system that is being considered by various government agencies.
Although he keeps himself busy with teaching and business, his family is his number one priority. He never misses a son’s baseball game and is sure to support his daughters in any activities in which they are involved.
Jewell is fortunate to be able to boast of such highly qualified, dedicated and well-rounded professors that endeavor to pass along their passions to students.