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George Buchanan

George Buchanan

Executive VP, Risk Management | Regions Bank | Class of 1990

The legendary Emerson Cammack was dean of the College of Business. Gully’s, Kam’s and the Illini Inn were all still serving drinks. And Lou Henson’s high-Flyin’ Illini were on the verge of earning a trip to the Final Four.

As great times to be a UI undergrad go, it’d be tough to top 1986-90, when future Alabama banking executive George Buchanan called C-U home.

“I owe a lot to Dean Cammack, as he was instrumental in encouraging me to continue in what was known back then as the College of Commerce and Business Administration, Buchanan (BS ’90, business administration) says from Birmingham.

“I vividly remember sitting in his office — stacks of papers and books everywhere, sometimes making it difficult to see him — and visiting on several occasions with this wonderful, humorous, gracious and larger-than-life individual who really cared for every student in the college.

“He encouraged me to stay the course and not change majors, and for this I am forever thankful. Dean Cammack was a great influence on me, and so many other students that I know.”

Also on Buchanan’s short list of favorite Illini people and places:

— Tom Trone. “My career as a banker has largely centered around helping businesses through lending, and I think some of this goes back to an entrepreneurship class that I took in my senior year with an adjunct professor and local C-U entrepreneur, Tom Trone.

“Our assignment for the semester was to build a business plan and pitch the idea to local venture capital folks and investors. The class made me realize both the time and effort it takes to start a company and the struggles that small businesses have to go through to seek financing, and that has been a real influence in my career. I still have a copy of the business plan.”

— The Greek life. “I was fortunate to be part of a great fraternity, TKE, that introduced me to a great set of friends that I have to this day.

"We had a lot of fun and spent many nights simply visiting at our house on Armory, or heading out on campus to frequent some of our finest establishments  — Gully’s, Kam’s and Illini Inn.”