Recognizing the Potential for Growth

Tanner Anderson was sitting in the vice principal's office in Riverton, Utah. With plummeting grades and dismal school attendance, he was being advised to transfer to Valley High School, an alternative school for struggling students a few miles away in South Jordan. Following his parents' divorce, he had started experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks and was missing class frequently. The vice principal told him that transferring to an alternative high school was his only option if he hoped to graduate.

"I had always thought I would be something great, but I knew I could never get into Harvard or any prestigious school with my Valley High background," says Tanner. "It was a devastating blow to my confidence."

Despite the setback, Tanner's teachers at Valley High helped him to discover his potential for greatness. "The teachers weren't there for money or prestige. They really wanted to help students succeed," he explains. He was able to manage his anxiety, his grades started improving, and he eventually graduated.

After graduation, Tanner served a religious mission in California where he found yet another mentor and father figure in his mission president. Interactions with his mission president helped Tanner to strengthen his self-confidence and helped him to make the decision to enroll at UVU when he returned home.

At UVU, Tanner has excelled. He has served as a Foundation ambassador and the lead presidential intern for UVU's chief of staff. In the latter position, he was one of two students appointed to the Presidential Transition Committee and was instrumental in UVU's presidential transition. He generated research and recommendations that were used to create the foundational documents guiding the transition.

While serving on the Presidential Transition Committee, Tanner was able to work and collaborate with many influential individuals, one of whom was James Clarke, CEO of Clarke Capital Partners and founder of the high-tech firm CLEARLINK. Clarke is also a UVU trustee and chair of the UVU Foundation Board.

"One day James invited me to meet with him in his Provo office," says Tanner. "I had no idea why he wanted to meet. I was really nervous. I brought my resume, but I didn't know what to expect." At the meeting, Clarke offered Tanner an internship with Clarke Capital Partners.

As a communications student, Tanner knew practically nothing about the private equity industry, so he was surprised by the offer. He has since realized that, as an investor, James Clarke is always searching for growth potential — whether in an idea, a business, or a person. "He saw growth potential in me and decided to invest his time, and I am immeasurably grateful for that opportunity," says Tanner.

Panic attacks are still a part of Tanner's life but he has become stronger because of them. He is now a Wolverine Associate with the Wolverine Fund, UVU's student-run venture capital organization. He has a cumulative 4.0 GPA, will graduate in spring 2019 with a degree in communications, is working in an executive role in a portfolio company of Clarke Capital Partners, and is preparing to apply to Harvard's MBA program.

"UVU has been the cornerstone for my development. I've received mentorship from people who truly believed in me," he says. "The Wolverine Fund is an example of what can happen when people believe that students can be more than just note takers in class."