by Helena Witzke
The WMU Department of Spanish will name its first awardee of a new scholarship for study abroad in spring 2012, thanks to the generosity of alumnus Jeremy Sayles (Business/Spanish ’96), who was recognized with the WMU College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Award in 2011.
The Jeremy Sayles Award in Business and Spanish is for students with a major or minor in Spanish and a major or minor in business. In addition, prospective awardees must demonstrate strong academic performance, financial need, and must use the scholarship to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.
Sayles graduated in 1996 with double majors in Spanish and business administration. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. While at Western, Sayles was one of six students chosen for the inaugural study abroad program in Queretaro, Mexico in 1995.
Sayles has had a successful professional career in marketing with more than 14 years of experience with leading Fortune 500 and global companies including Kellogg, Novartis, Nestle and Pfizer. He has led multi-million dollar brand positioning and promotional efforts, for such well-known brands as Pop Tarts, Eggo® waffles, Gerber® baby food, Ovaltine® drink mix and Advil® pain reliever.
During his career, Sayles has visited more than 30 countries, and traveled and worked extensively throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. He is currently senior marketing manager (based in Madison, N.J.) for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and is responsible for new product innovation efforts on the Centrum® multivitamin franchise.
During his visit to Kalamazoo during homecoming week, Sayles received his award from the college, then he and his wife, Jackie, ran the Campus Classic on Saturday morning and spent time with the Tortugas, the already famous team of walkers and runners of the Department of Spanish made up of faculty, graduate students and guests.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer this new scholarship due to the generosity of one of our former students here at WMU,” noted Dr. Michael Millar, associate professor of Spanish. There is no application process for the scholarship. Faculty from the Department of Spanish will nominate candidates for the award, and the recipient will be announced during the Department of Spanish’s Honors and Awards Ceremony in the spring.