Erin Harkless Moore, BSBA ’05
Loyalty Society member
15 years loyal
Washington University opened up worlds for Erin Harkless Moore, BSBA ’05. While pursuing a finance major in the Olin Business School, she participated in a formative study-abroad program in London and developed friendships that remain dear to her. Harkless Moore also found plenty of adventure on campus, especially when the university hosted a presidential debate in 2004. A writer for Student Life, she received press credentials that gave her access to the spin room, where she rubbed shoulders with political players, pundits, and journalists.
None of these exhilarating opportunities, however, would have been possible without alumni giving. As a John B. Ervin Scholar, Harkless Moore personally witnessed the incredible difference scholarship support can make in a student’s life. Today, that knowledge fuels her own philanthropy and is one of many reasons she proudly calls herself #WashULoyal.
What was your undergraduate experience like, and what have you been up to since graduating from Washington University?
I feel like I just graduated from college, and yet a decade and a half has passed. And now it has been nearly 20 years since I first stepped foot on campus as a prospective student! The journey has been really amazing. When I was a student, I was involved in a lot of different activities with Olin, as well as Student Life and Lock and Chain. I also studied abroad in London.
Since graduating from WashU, I have spent my entire career in investment management, with different firms and in different functions. On the academic side, my Olin training served me well and set me on the right foot as I started at Goldman Sachs and then moved to other opportunities. WashU has always been foundational to my career trajectory. And on the personal front, some of my best friends and the best relationships I have today are with folks I met on campus. They are still a very important part of my everyday life.
What inspired you to make your first gift to Washington University?
Throughout my life, my parents instilled in me to live a life of service and to give back to the communities that give to you. Technically, I made my first gift as part of the senior class gift campaign. I was an Ervin Scholar, and I felt tremendously blessed to have received my scholarship. Other people’s contributions really facilitated much of my time at the university. Because I was able to have an incredible experience at WashU—to travel the world, learn so much, and meet so many amazing people—I wanted to do my small part. Obviously, I didn’t write a million- or even thousand-dollar check as a senior in college. But even $50 or $100 sends a very powerful signal. For me, it has always been about participation, consistency, and really demonstrating how much the school gave to me. Everybody has causes and organizations that matter to them, and WashU has always been very important to me.
Why do you think it is important for alumni to give to Washington University year after year?
People look at WashU’s endowment and think the school is so “rich.” The endowment provides a critical stream of income, but a lot of those assets are restricted. Much of the university’s innovation and ability to continue to innovate are because of alumni giving. Consistently supporting WashU, in the broadest way, is essential to ensuring the university remains at the highest level. [To learn more about the university’s endowment, check out the chancellor’s “Endowment 101” blog series here.]
Looking back on your time at Washington University, what are some of your favorite memories?
I really enjoyed studying abroad. Olin students I did not necessarily know that well became some of my closest friends through the London program. One of my other favorite memories was being on campus during the 2004 presidential debate. Several of us from Student Life received press credentials, and we got to hang out in the spin room and talk to people from various political organizations and campaigns. That was a pretty unique experience. And many of my former colleagues from Student Life now have very impressive careers in journalism, so it’s really cool to see them crushing it on television and in print!
What is your favorite spot on campus or in St. Louis?
I spent a lot of time in Simon Hall as an Olin student, and Bauer Hall seems like a really neat space to me when I return to campus. Of course, I have always loved Holmes Lounge, which is such a great space to eat and work and hang out. A few of my other favorite places no longer exist, like the old-school Bear’s Den, where you could get greasy chicken wings, burgers, and fries. A lot of my memories revolve around food, I guess!