Robby Russell & Wells Fargo

Giving student-athletes a turn to play.

Robby Russell knows what it takes to succeed in the business world, and it’s not just connections, cunning or cash. It’s a liberal arts degree.

In his role as Asheville’s Community Market President at Wells Fargo, Russell recognizes the value a diverse skill set can bring to the workplace. That’s why when his company is looking to hire, it’s often the liberal arts graduates that have the advantage.

"We tend to lean more towards students who received a liberal arts education because we feel they are more rounded," Russell says. "They are more prepared to tackle the challenges in corporate America versus those that are more single focused. We think it’s a plus."

Russell and Wells Fargo have supported the liberal arts at UNC Asheville in a number of ways, including sponsoring the annual Our Turn to Play luncheon. The event recognizes the contributions of Title IX in the success of women and raises scholarship dollars for female athletes. For Wells Fargo, a company that values diversity and inclusion, the partnership has been a slam-dunk by leading to new relationships and business opportunities.

"We think it’s a wonderful cause and an amazing event," Russell says. "It’s something that we strongly support and want to continue to be a part of for a long time."

Russell is also quick to point out the economic benefits the university brings to the region. By serving as an academic and cultural hub, UNC Asheville attracts some of the best and brightest minds to the area and creates a stronger economic foundation for the community.

Many of these newcomers are students, some of which might not be able to attend college if not for the contributions of businesses and community leaders.

"UNC Asheville is a jewel here in Asheville," Russell says. "It is a brain trust that not many cities the size of Asheville have. If Wells Fargo is able to assist by providing additional support that may bring a talented person to the university, we want to be a part of that success," Russell says.