Charlie Paulk

The gift of giving: Charlie Paulk

The holiday season is one many look forward to year after year. With its warm feelings of home, family and friends, it inspires giving back to those who have impacted our lives in positive and profound ways. This holiday season, we spoke with two Warrington College of Business alumni that have given back to their alma matter – one who has been giving for 43 years, and another who made their first donation this year. See what inspires Charlie Paulk and Emily Fodor to give back and how their education at the University of Florida influenced their lives and careers.

Charlie Paulk (BSBA ’62) learned the value of a dollar early on in his life. The Miami-native started working for his father’s automobile business when he was 13 years old, a time which inspired his interest in business.

“I did everything from cleaning used cars, working in the parts department and assisting the mechanics in the shop,” he said. “Seeing how much my dad enjoyed being a business person and how much I liked my work experiences led me to want to excel in business, so a degree in business management was an easy choice when I enrolled at the University of Florida.”

Paulk’s interest in business continued to grow as he took his learning experiences out of the classroom and into the real world.

A black and white photo of a man handing a trophy to another man who is holding water skis

Paulk, left, was captain of the Florida Intramural Ski Club during his time at the University of Florida.

“During high school and college, I worked at resorts in Florida (i.e. Cypress Gardens) and Indiana (i.e. Indiana Beach) where I got business experience in hotel and restaurant management, retail management, the entertainment business (i.e. professional water skiing), production of movies and commercials and dealing with people from a number of different countries,” he said.

After completing his undergraduate degree in 1962, Paulk attended Indiana University to pursue his MBA. From there, he would begin his 35-plus year career at what was then Arthur Andersen & Co., now Accenture, as a staff consultant in Chicago.

“I began working on jobs that focused on streamlining business processes, often using computers to automate some of the processes,” he said. “The objective was always to help the clients achieve a competitive edge by altering business strategies, improving customer service, improving product or service quality, reducing cost and improving profitability.”

Paulk quickly gained experience that led him up the ladder to managing project teams, and ultimately, partnership, which included managing the firm’s Indianapolis and Omaha consulting practices, overseeing worldwide training programs, creating and managing the firm’s internal information technology organization, and serving on Accenture’s Global Management Council and Executive Committee.

“It was a career that always offered new challenges, enabled me to work with great clients and teammates, provided rapid growth opportunities and leaves great memories of how we helped clients improve their businesses,” he said.

While Paulk is now retired, he continues to do one thing he started early on in his career – give back to his alma mater. For 43 years, Paulk has contributed to the University of Florida, an annual gift he’s proud to make.

“After becoming financially able, the University of Florida was one of the first organizations to which I began making contributions,” he said. “Over the years, I have continued to give, increasing the amount as able.”

Paulk’s love for his time at the University of Florida and belief in giving back inspired his first and continued contributions since 1976.

“The University and my ATO Fraternity provided an environment that let me mature, start the University of Florida Intramural Ski Club, create friendships and gain a great education that prepared me for the future,” he said. “All these things were important to my future, and I’ve always thought that it was important that I should give to the University so others can gain the benefits I received from the experience at the University.”

It’s Paulk’s hope that others see the same value in giving back to the University of Florida as he does.

“The University of Florida is a great school, provides many students the education to be successful in the future and requires alumni giving to sustain that ability,” he said. “Starting giving early and increasing your gift amounts as you can, shows your devotion to the University and adds up over time. If you’re able to give major gifts later in life that adds to the impact you can have on making University and business school even better.”

Want to give back to the Warrington College of Business like Charlie and Emily? Learn more about how you can make an impact