Marshall Croom '86, Outstanding Service

Chief Risk Office of Lowe's Companies, Inc. Marshall A. Croom was given the 2014 Outstanding Service Award.

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"You're Irreversible (Instrumental)" performed by The New Velvet
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Marshall Croom '86: My family moved around quite a bit when I was younger. Quite a big family. 1 of 6 children and that was very instrumental for my formative years. Being a part of a large family. Learning to get along with others and deal with others. There was never a dull moment.

MC: We moved to Lexington, NC in 1967. So, I lived in Lexington up until I went to Appalachian. I decided to pursue a career in accounting. I knew they had a good Accounting program and so, for me it was a good opportunity to learn, to grow, and to pursue an accounting career to be successful as a student and hopefully successful as a person in life.

MC: I graduated from Appalachian and then went to go work with Ernst & Young and got a call from an Ernst & Young alumnus who offered me an opportunity to come to Lowe’s, actually in the treasury department and I thought about doing something differently with my career at the time and I knew Lowe’s was an up and coming company, so I went and interviewed for the job at Lowe’s and since then I’ve gotten to do a number of different things at Lowe’s, which is really great. What I call the fun stuff at Lowe’s. So, internal auditing, risk management, information security, project process and change management, and along with quality assurance.

MC: With the different efforts and service opportunities I have, some of it is time based and also an opportunity to give back financially to the university as a whole. I serve as much as I do because of much of my passion for the students. You can call it pay it forward or do unto to others. From the experience I had at Appalachian with the professors and staff at the time, I knew that I wanted to have an impact on students as well.

MC: So, one of those is the mentorship program that we have through the Business Advisory Counsel in the Walker College of Business, so that we are pairing a student with a businessperson, but it’s an opportunity for them to talk about school, academics, life. It’s just meant to be someone they can bounce ideas off of or something else that can help give them a different perspective about what the work force and working world is really like to help shape them and round them out.

MC: My decision to help support the Career Service Center was a very easy one. Also, it was Michelle Boisclair who had a very strong heart for students and that passion for students that really inspired me to help as well. So, it’s really an opportunity to help the students think about getting prepared for applying for a job, interviewing for a job, pursuing a job. But it really dovetails back into to my experience at Appalachian. So in a way for me to kind of give back and hopefully one of these students one day will give back as well.

MC: If I had to describe Appalachian, I think one of the first things that comes to mind is family. It’s the personal connections and the personal relationships. Again, I think I have to go back to the time when it was my second semester at Appalachian and Chancellor Peacock, Ken Peacock...he always kept his classes very engaging, very entertaining, very informative. Just the opportunity to have had him as a professor is tremendous.

MC: I didn’t do so well on one of his tests and it was one of the firsts tests out of the gate and I really wasn’t happy with how I’d done, so I went and talked with Professor Peacock, at the time, and he really helped re instill confidence in myself and my abilities as a student. So, for him to take the time and the genuine interest in caring and the authenticity of his interest in me as a student and person...That again, I just had not had that experience before, so for me that was kind of a defining moment that here was a person in an institution that is different and providing a better experience for our students.

MC: So, again it’s just the offering of that complete package that I had as a student, at the time, and then continue to see that grow, evolve and change over time through continued involvement with students, faculty, and serving on the Business Advisory Counsel.

MC: It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award. To even be considered for it was a tremendous honor. Again, because of the experiences I had at Appalachian, the experiences I’ve had post Appalachian, given the connection I’ve had with Chancellor Peacock, Dean Edwards, a number of the other faculty over the years, the students I’ve gotten to know over the years and just getting to know and interact with them and to feel like you’re having an impact and making a difference in someone’s life. I mean that’s what it’s all about.

MC: So, it means a lot to be recognized for this. I certainly wasn’t asking for it. Certainly gladly accept it, but it’s just a tremendous responsibility for us. Not only giving financially, but giving of our time and talents to provide better experiences for students, faculty and for the college.