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NGU grads challenged to succeed in faith as well as life

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Monday, April 30, 2018

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NGU grads challenged to succeed in faith as well as life

North Greenville University



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From left: NGU Board Chairman Bill Tyler, Erik C. Weir, and NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.
 
 

North Greenville University

From left: NGU Board Chairman Bill Tyler, Erik C. Weir, and NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.

 

 

About 300 undergraduates and graduates receive diplomas Saturday at North Greenville University's spring commencement ceremony on a picture perfect morning in Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium.  More than 4,000 spectators attended and heard WCM Global Wealth, LLC, Principal and Managing Member Erik C. Weir give the keynote address.

“I’m going to tell you a few stories and things I’ve learned in my life, and hopefully it will be a blessing to you,” Weir said.

Weir developed a stuttering condition after his involvement in an automobile accident at the age of five. His parents pushed him to sell lemonade in their neighborhood, which pressed him to talk to people. He worked through the adversity to become a thriving entrepreneur. At age 18, he earned his real estate license and invested his commissions in stocks. As a result, he became involved in the investment arena where he works today. 

He said he was, “Building a ladder on the wrong wall. My ladder was built on success, and goals, and accomplishing things, and finance; it wasn’t built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.”

Even though he was a Christian, Weir's motivation was about business and success.     

Weir graduated from Georgia Southern University and took a job as a stock broker with Merrill Lynch in Atlanta.

Because of his stuttering condition, it was hard to get started in business. Nonetheless, God blessed him. In a period of five years, he opened 600 relationships at Merrill Lynch. He was in the top two percent of 10,000 people for opening accounts.

He went on to San Francisco and learned investment banking, selling companies, and taking companies public.

“I didn’t know what God was doing. It became apparent later in life." Weir said. "He was preparing me to understand finance and preparing me (to) understand you can’t have happiness in financial success; it doesn’t bring joy." 

Weir gave an analogy of greyhounds chasing a metal rabbit around a track. No matter how fast they run, they can never quite get there. When they let the dogs catch the rabbit, they would try to chew it. They found that the dogs would never run the track again, because what they were chasing didn’t taste good.

“And that’s how chasing wealth is,” Weir said. “When you chase success for success’ sake, wealth for wealth’s sake; everything else in your life becomes unhinged.”  

Weir shared five things, the “Five F’s, with the graduates which falter when achieving success. 

“Your faith is the underpinning of everything in your life. It is the lens in which you see the world through. And it will be tried,” he said.

Second, family. “I chased success for a season in my life so hard, that it hurt my family. It’s not worth it. Because at the end, it’s like the metal rabbit. It has no taste.”

Third is fitness. “So many people I work with let their health go, because they were pursuing wealth.”

Lastly, friends. “Iron sharpens iron. Who you associate with will have a significant impact in your life.”

Not one of the “Five F’s,” but a sixth point Weir stressed to the graduates was gratitude. He asked the graduates if they are grateful.

Weir said he keeps a prayer journal with him at all times. He writes things in it that he asks God for. “And when you’re up against a wall and when things aren’t going your way, you can look back and see hundreds of prayers that God has answered. Your faith soars, your gratitude soars, and your hope soars,” Weir said. “Choose today whom you will serve."

Weir has more than 27 years of investment and financial services experience. He received his bachelor of arts (Finance/Real Estate) from Georgia State University in 1989 and became a licensed real estate agent at the age of 18, assembling his first shopping center site while a sophomore in college.

Prior to forming his own company, Weir was a senior vice president of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in San Francisco, Calif., and assistant vice president of Merrill Lynch in Atlanta.

He formed Weir Capital Management, LLC, in 1999 which was named one of the Top 25 fastest growing companies in South Carolina in both 2009 and 2010. Next, he formed WCM Global Wealth, LLC in 2011.

Most recently, WCM Global Wealth has collaborated to redevelop the Greenville News site in downtown Greenville, a development that will transform the downtown landscape. This multi-million dollar re-development, titled Camperdown Square, will encompass an entire city block and will include an upscale hotel, luxury residential condominiums, 225 apartments, two office buildings, retail spaces, and a public plaza.

“At North Greenville, we talk a lot about helping our students to become graduates who will be transformational leaders for church and society," said President Fant. "I adjure each and every one of you to find a local church as you leave, that you can plug into and you can bring your talents, your gifts, and your abilities, and plug into that fellowship. Because they need you, but you need them.”

He also asked them to find a local community organization that they can plug into, as a coach, a mentor, a volunteer, a donor so that they can connect with them. They can again bring their passions, talents, abilities, and callings God has given them to bear in the community that they are going to live.

 

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