As beneficiaries of Northwest Missouri State University’s profession-based education model, Brian Hesse and his wife are now giving back to the institution that helped shape their careers.
Brian and Holly Hesse (photo submitted)
Brian and his wife, Holly, recently pledged a $100,000 donation to the Northwest Foundation to establish two scholarship funds: the Brian Hesse Scholarship for Business and the Hesse Family Scholarship for Vocal Music.
The Business Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student studying a major offered within the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business, and the Vocal Music Scholarship will be awarded to a student studying majors in vocal music within the Department of Fine and Performing Arts.
Both scholarships will be awarded to incoming freshmen who have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher, with academic achievement and financial need as primary selection criteria. Scholarships are renewable during recipients’ sophomore, junior, and senior years as long as they maintain a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 or higher.
“My wife and I feel so fortunate to be in the position to provide these scholarships,” Brian said. “The Northwest is a great place to get your education. We are delighted to provide these scholarships to help ensure that high school students have a good opportunity to succeed in life.”
After graduating from Northwest with a degree in marketing in 1995, Brian attended a job fair in Kansas City and landed interviews with two companies: one with a well-known brand and one with a metal distribution company. He was offered both positions and ultimately chose the metals distributor because he offered a better career path.
Brian and Holly met at Northwest and have been married for 26 years. Holly attended Northwest from 1992 to 1996 as a vocal music education major before completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She taught vocal music for 10 years in St. Louis and Chicago before leaving the classroom to raise the couple’s two children, Jaxon and Ella.
Today, the Hesses reside in Mamaroneck, New York, and Brian is co-owner, president and CEO of aluminum distributor PerenniAL. With 25 years of experience in the metals industry and leadership positions in various companies, Brian launched PerenniaAL last year with a commitment to ensure sustainable services in the aluminum industry.
“As I grew and developed, I was able to take those skills I learned at Northwest and hone them into what I wanted to do with my life, whether it was sales, marketing, president and CEO, or owning a company “, he said.
Originally from Mexico, Missouri, Brian chose to pursue his degree at Northwest after a campus tour because he liked the campus setting and location. He has served as assistant floor manager, residential assistant, and student ambassador. He was also a member of the American Marketing Association.
Brian says his involvement in student organizations provided stepping stones that helped him gain professional and networking skills, which helped grow his ability to talk to others and sell products. He has also enhanced his learning with faculty mentors, including Brenda Ryan, Russ Northup and Don Nothstine.
With all of these experiences, Brian felt primed to enter the market when he graduated from Northwest. More recently, he has begun to give back to the university by joining the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors.
“It’s the family feeling you get at Northwest,” Brian said. “Being involved in all the things that I was, the amazing professors and friends, I didn’t feel like I was in college with no one to support me and no one to care about me.”
The Brian Hesse Scholarship for Business and the Hesse Family Scholarship for Vocal Music remain open to accepting future contributions from donors. To contribute to scholarships or donate to other Northwest initiatives, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/giveonline or contact the Northwest Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248.