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As the Economics major grows in popularity, the faculty members recognize that we need to do more to individualize the learning experience for each and every major.  In this, we’ve found two excellent partners in Matt and Paige Guest (pictured at left under Carolina-blue skies).

Matt Guest is a 1997 graduate of UNC with majors in Economics and International Studies. While on campus he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. He is currently a partner at the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz in New York City where he practices corporate and securities law, with a focus on public company mergers and acquisitions. He, his wife Paige (also UNC class of 1997) and his four children live in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Matt grew up in Indianapolis, but found an intellectual home when he visited Chapel Hill. “I was initially attracted by the climate and beautiful campus. Upon visiting and touring the school and meeting students and professors, I was greatly impressed by the quality of the academics, which matched Carolina’s lofty reputation.” Once on campus, he gravitated to Economics as a major. “I had great experiences with professors in my first few classes taken in the Economics Department, so it was an easy decision to pursue the major from there.”

This year Matt and Paige established The Guest Family Fund for Excellence in Economics, a $200,000 commitment to the department. They’ve designated the gift to support experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students. Examples of the potential uses of these funds will be summer research fellowships and internships for economics majors, undergraduate faculty-mentored research, research expenses associated with writing honors theses, and travel assistance for research, competitions or academic conferences.

Why experiential education? It stems from Matt’s experiences at Carolina. As he put it, “I wrote an undergraduate honors thesis, and looking back on it believe additional funding would have greatly enhanced my experience. Our idea [in making this gift] was simply to provide some additional resources to allow undergraduates an opportunity to better explore and refine their academic or career interests at a key point in time.”

Patrick Conway, chair of the Economics Department, welcomed the gift, which follows a previous fund established by the Guest family in 2012 in memory of Matt’s father. “This generous gift from Matt and Paige Guest provides us in the Economics Department with the resources to assist our Economics students in deepening their understanding of the economics concepts and principles that they learn in class. ‘Learning by doing’ is an important component of any student’s education, and for some of our students an internship or mentored summer research project will be just the experience to bring an abstract economic concept into focus. We are very pleased to be able to add these opportunities to our major.”

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