By Leah Hart
Amir Mehr’s time at North Carolina State University was not just a four-year college experience, it was the beginning of lifelong relationships with the people he met and with the university itself.
Amir came from New Jersey in 1988 to enroll at NC State. Looking for a big university with a vibrant athletics scene and warmer weather, he enrolled at NC State — his top choice — without the benefit of being able to tour the campus. Today he looks back with no regrets.
“It was just a great experience moving here; I liked going to school here,” he says. “I met a lot of great friends who are still friends to this day, and most importantly, I met my wife there.”
His wife Anne was enrolled at Meredith College, where she graduated in 1993, and the two said much of their social life revolved around NC State and Amir’s fraternity, where he met so many people he still calls friends today.
He knew he wanted to major in business administration—this was before Poole College of Management existed—but wasn’t sure what field he would major in. It was the faculty in his accounting courses that helped Amir decide on a major.
“I had a bunch of great accounting teachers that made it really interesting for me,” he said. “I can remember that feeling when I first said, this is definitely what I want to study.”
I can remember that feeling when I first said this is definitely what I want to study.
Amir graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting in 1992 and has spent much of the last 30 years in the financial services industry with investment banks in New York and London, specializing in fixed income capital markets. He currently works for Kensington Mortgages, a UK based company, as Director of Portfolio Strategy, Credit and Research and also serves on the board of the parent company. The couple live in North Raleigh, but Amir often travels to the UK for his work.
This fall, Amir will be honored with the 2022 Poole College of Management Distinguished Alumni Award. Looking at his family’s commitment to the state of NC over the years, it’s easy to see that the honor is well deserved.
Anne and Amir have remained associated with NC State and Poole College of Management in many ways. Amir has been appointed to Poole College Advisory Board while Anne is a member of the NC State Board for Student Success which supports the Department of Academic and Student Affairs.
Additionally, NC State and Poole College are quickly becoming a family tradition. Amir’s sister, Ghazale Johnston, also attended NC State and has her own connection with the university, where she currently serves as Chair of the NC State Foundation Board. Two of Amir and Anne’s children also chose NC State. Matthew graduated from Poole College in 2022 while Madelyn is currently studying Business Administration and Political Science. Her youngest, Harrison, is a senior this year, so there’s a chance another member will join the wolf pack soon.
“If you look at our family, NC State has really deep roots,” Amir said. “It’s something that’s part of our lives and occupies us most of the time.”
If you look at our family, NC State has really deep roots. It is something that is part of our lives and occupies us most of the time.
These meaningful connections are one of the reasons Amir and Anne decided last year to establish the Mehr Family Faculty Enrichment Endowment. Funds from the Foundation are used to support the excellence of Poole’s faculty in a variety of ways. Some examples include use for faculty recruitment and retention, faculty enrichment activities, or research support, among others.
Amir said they decided to support Poole’s faculty after the college’s leadership team identified it as an area of need.
“It just makes sense,” Amir said. “When you have really talented people teaching students, you get better educated students.
“I had great faculty experiences while at NC State, and without some of the mentors I had, I might have been in a different position when I came out — it felt like a natural way.” to help.”
It’s also about the desire to give back that was instilled in them by their own families growing up, he said.
“We try to instill that in our kids, and our parents instilled that in us — if you’re lucky, one of your biggest responsibilities is to give back,” he said.
Coming full circle for them too, as they now watch their own children have meaningful experiences at Poole College and NC State, it’s been an opportunity to see how Poole College has grown and evolved, and they want that for them support the future.
“I remember the program long before it was Poole College and I thought it was great at the time,” Amir said. “If you think about it, it’s a fairly young business school and it’s amazing to see what they’ve accomplished.”
From the amount and type of courses Poole offers to the forward-thinking focus on data and analytics, Amir said the college does everything right to produce the best graduates.
Both Amir and Anne say they were also impressed by the network of connections Poole has built among potential employers.
Although it is Amir who is being honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award, he is quick to say it was only possible thanks to his support system.
“This would not have happened without the mentors and experiences I had at NC State, the friends I made there, and the support of my parents who taught me the importance of resilience and who helped get me there to send, as well as my brother and sister and their friendship,” he said. “And then by my side is my wife, the only person I always know who, along with my children, is my inspiration.
To receive and be honored with this award means a lot, but it’s not something that was done on an island – I have an incredibly supportive cast and crew by my side.
“Receiving this award and being honored with it means a lot, but it’s not something that was done on an island – I have an incredibly supportive cast and crew by my side.”