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Darla Moore School of Business

Moore School, Bank of America’s Nov. 14 diversity and inclusion event to celebrate alumnus's impact, scholarship recipients

Nov. 11, 2019

The Moore School is partnering with Bank of America to host a panel on access, opportunity and community engagement Nov. 14 to celebrate the scholarship Bank of America has funded in honor of its long-time leader and Moore School alumnus W.W. “Hootie” Johnson (‘53 business administration). Johnson held multiple leadership positions for the Bankers Trust of South Carolina that became Bank of America for 21 years and was one of the founding members of the University of South Carolina – Business Partnership Foundation, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year within the Moore School.

Ten in-state undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in leadership roles within the financial services industry were awarded the Bank of America – W.W. Hootie Johnson Scholarship for fall 2019. The scholarship that memorializes Johnson is the largest one awarded by the Moore School.

The students will be recognized at the access, opportunity and community engagement panel. To register, visit

Here’s a look at the ten students awarded the Bank of America – W.W. Hootie Johnson Scholarship:

Photo of Abongwa Azeh in the Moore School courtyard 

Moore School junior Francois Aze has attended schools in Europe, Africa and North America; unsurprisingly, these experiences developed a “transnational mindset” in Aze, and he is majoring in international business and marketing at USC.

Aze, who attended high school in Blythewood, South Carolina, said receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship will help him pursue a quality education at the Moore School because it is relieving the financial burden of tuition and other fees.

“It means a great honor and privilege to receive the W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship because it demonstrates Bank of America's unrelenting quest to invest in the development of a diversity of talents,” Aze said.

Looking to share the talents he obtains from the Moore School globally, Aze’s career goal is to consult a global corporation on international marketing strategies. He wants to help a firm compete and succeed in multiple markets around the world, particularly Asia.

Aze said he has studied Bank of America and its Asian marketing strategy in his international business classes.

“It is because of [these case studies] that I am a massive admirer of the success of Bank of America's Asian strategy,” Aze said. “I believe this success is harnessed from Bank of America's investment in the development of a diversity of talents.  This scholarship is a testament to that, and I wish to express to Bank of America my wholehearted gratitude for their enormous generosity.”.

Portrait of Riley Branham in the Moore School courtyard

 Moore School junior accounting major Riley Branham has wanted to work in the mortgage and finance industry since she was a child because her dad owned a mortgage company in Columbia, South Carolina. She initially declared her major as finance, but through her financial accounting and managerial accounting classes, she said she realized that accounting is the backbone of finance and changed her major.

Branham said that receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship from Bank of America will enable her to graduate with very little college debt and enter the mortgage industry full-time with three years of part-time experience.

“Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to accept the internship that led me to find my passion for the mortgage industry and the part-time position that I currently hold with a local mortgage company,” Branham said.

Having learned strong time management skills through her education at the Moore School, Branham said she feels prepared to join the accounting industry. She said quite a bit of this preparation is owed to her scholarship.

“[The W.W. “Hootie” Johnson Scholarship] really has made a positive impact in my college career,” Branham said. “I’ve been able to be a better student and employee because of it."

Portrait of Jason Brown in Moore School courtyard 

Moore School marketing student Jason Brown said he was “caught off guard” when he received the email informing him that he had received the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship. Brown, a junior who has been financially independent since he was 18 years old, said the scholarship will benefit him by lessening the amount of money he has to pay out of pocket and decrease the amount he borrows in student loans.

“[This scholarship] has motivated me to do my best [academic work], and it made me realize that there are people who will help me and that I should be grateful for everything,” Brown said.

Born and raised a Gamecock fan, Brown always wanted to attend USC as he was growing up near campus in Lexington, South Carolina. He said he realized his interest in marketing while in high school, and, with the Moore School being a highly acclaimed business school, it increased his desire to attend South Carolina.

Brown attended a technical college for two years to earn some preliminary credits, and then he transferred into the Moore School.

“[The Moore School] has showed me that hard work pays off, and you must hold yourself accountable,” Brown said. “The only person that can prevent you from succeeding is yourself, and this school has taught me to never settle.”

Brown hopes to work in sales once he graduates from the Moore School; he is interested in how brands market themselves to increase brand awareness and, ultimately, sales.

Portrait of Destiny Johnson in the Moore School courtyard 

Moore school sophomore Destiny Johnson said she has always worked extremely diligently when it comes to her education, so receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship affirmed her hard work over the past year.

From Pageland, South Carolina, the risk management and insurance and finance double major said USC was always at the top of her list of universities to attend, especially because of the versatility of a Moore School business degree. One of Johnson’s only hesitations in applying to USC was that she worried there was a lack of diversity on campus.

“I learned, however, that there is a strong community of African Americans here by attending Summer Seniors 2017,” Johnson said. “Now I am proud to say that I am part of that community.”

Johnson said she is majoring in risk management and insurance because she enjoys planning and that she chose to double major in finance because she also likes managing money. Interested in the hospitality industry, Johnson said she hopes to one day work as a risk manager or finance manager for a hospitality company. Above all, Johnson hopes to have a financially stable life.

“If I did not receive scholarships to help pay for my education, I would not attend college,” Johnson said. “If it wasn’t for funds like the W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship, and others like them, I would not be set up for the successful future that I am now.” 

Photo of Alexandra Khoury in Moore School courtyard 

Moore School junior Alexandra Khoury grew up in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a certified public accountant as a father. Developing an interest in business throughout her childhood, Khoury declared a finance major when she was a freshman at USC. After taking an introduction to financial accounting class, however, Khoury decided to add accounting as a second major.

Khoury said that she wouldn’t be able to attend USC without scholarships and financial aid because she has a twin sister who is also pursuing a college education. Receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship has helped Khoury worry less about money and stay focused on her studies.

“With this scholarship, I do not have to worry about working a part-time job to afford school,” Khoury said. “Because of this scholarship, there is nothing holding me back from reaching my full academic potential.”

Khoury is a Capstone Scholar and a member of Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial information students. Through Beta Alpha Psi, she volunteers with the Cooperative Ministry for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Khoury said that her time at the Moore School has pushed her out of her comfort zone and to always give her best effort.

“I have faced many different challenges as well as opportunities that have allowed me to evolve into a better student and a better person,” Khoury said. “Being part of the Moore School has taught me that nothing is impossible with hard work and dedication.”

Khoury hopes to pursue a Master of Accountancy after receiving her bachelor’s degree and to find a job that she is passionate about.

Portrait of Amy Linh next to the Moore School 

Moore School sophomore Amy Linh said she was raised as a Gamecock fan, so attending USC for college was always the obvious choice for her.

Having always loved math and figuring out solutions to problems, Linh decided to pursue degrees in both finance and accounting.

Linh said receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship helps her worry less about her personal finances and focus more on school.

“This scholarship will help me pay tuition and even a little bit of my rent, which is great,” Linh added.

As a sophomore, Linh is just beginning to fully immerse herself in her business classes. She said the core classes in the Moore School are more challenging than she expected, but they have taught her to be more professional and to take advantage of any opportunity that she is provided.

“The Moore School has given me many opportunities such as the [W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship], and I will forever be grateful for that,” Linh said.

Portrait of Zacheus Magwood in the Moore School courtyard

Moore School sophomore Zacheus Magwood chose to major in accounting because he thinks that the job opportunities are “endless.”

Magwood said that he thinks accounting is a fundamental degree that every company could utilize; he likes the versatility in the degree program.

Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, Magwood decided to attend USC because of the prestige of the business school and its proximity to his hometown. However, Magwood said that college would not have been a viable option for him without the aid of scholarships.

“Receiving the W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship means the world to me,” Magwood said. “Before this semester, I was cycling through options on how I am going to pay for college, and this scholarship allowed me to just focus on the school aspect of college and not as much on the financial side.”

Grateful for the opportunity to focus on challenging himself through his coursework in the Moore School, Magwood said he hopes to use his education to become a financial analyst and, eventually, an accounting consultant.

“I am very appreciative for the W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship,” Magwood said. “The avenues that opened up to me are nothing short of a miracle. I am in college because of this, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Portrait of Harsh Patel in Moore School courtyard

Moore School junior Harsh Patel said that the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship has allowed him to focus on his studies and career path.

A finance and operations and supply chain double major, Patel chose to attend USC because of the academic coursework and the price. However, Harsh said he could not attend USC without financial aid.

“[The W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship] will help me by lifting the burden of student debt off my shoulders, which in turn makes my parents’ lives easier,” Patel said. “It has also helped me afford college without working full time.”

Patel has high career aspirations, so being able to focus on his schoolwork is critical to his future success. He hopes to work in government relations and executive planning within the financial industry; Patel is focused on studying at USC the role governments play in finance and operations and understanding the day-to-day operations of businesses.

Patel said he feels extremely prepared for his career beyond college because of the education he is receiving at the Moore School.

“I have learned how valuable connecting with professors is and how effective and useful it is to build a network to not only help you succeed in school but also in your professional life,” Patel added. 

Photo of Vedanti Patel in the Moore School courtyard 

Moore School junior Vedanti Patel is a first-generation college student who hopes to one day be the chief financial officer of a banking company. As the first college student in her family, Patel said she mostly relies on financial aid, grants and student loans to finance her education.

“Being awarded the Bank of America – W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson Scholarship has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school: learning,” Patel said.

Double majoring in accounting and finance, Patel said she is excited about her graduate school prospects and the opportunities to work at some of the most prestigious companies in the country that these degrees offer.

“I selected finance and accounting as my majors because I love seeing both sides of the [banking] spectrum,” Patel added.

The company that Patel is most excited to potentially work for is Bank of America, making the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship even more special, she said.

“Bank of America has always been my dream company to work for in the future, but after learning more about [the W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship], I am more keen to pursue my career with the bank,” Patel said. “I love how promotion of diversity is one of the main focuses for the company not just internally but in the community as well. I am really honored and gratified that Bank of America chose me as one of this year’s recipients for the W. W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship.” 

Portrait of Alisha Shah in Moore School courtyard 

Moore School international business and finance double major Alisha Shah is very involved on campus as a resident mentor, Honors College student and Moore School ambassador.

From Lexington, South Carolina, Shah said that receiving the W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship from Bank of America on top of her South Carolina LIFE Scholarship and Dean’s Scholarship has a large impact on her education.

“The W.W. ‘Hootie’ Johnson scholarship has allowed me to attend USC without having to find a means to pay for school,” Shah said.

Shah plans to practice international law one day, so she chose to major in international business and finance to position herself to attend law school after graduating from the Moore School.

“In five years, I see myself as an international lawyer working at a law firm in Washington, D.C.,” Shah added.

The W.W. “Hootie” Johnson scholarship will allow Shah to focus on her studies so she is positioned to achieve her goals. 

-Erin Mooney

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.