John A. Mulheren ’71

John A. Mulheren was a successful Wall Street investor, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. His ventures beyond Wall Street included owning a buffalo farm in Paint Band, Virginia, that became the largest one east of the Mississippi.

He was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey. He attended Christian Brothers Academy before entering Roanoke College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1971.

While at the College, he was known for his unique personality, his creative spirit, his laser focus on topics and activities that interested him, and his love of pranks, some of which have become part of College lore.

After graduation, he trained at G.A. Saxton before becoming Merrill Lynch's youngest managing director at the age of 25. During his career, he was associated with J&B Specialists, EMCo, Jamie Securities Company and Spear Leeds & Kellogg. At the time of his death in 2003, he was the CEO of Bear Wagner Specialists LLC.

Mr. Mulheren liberally shared the rewards of his hard work and good fortune. His philanthropic efforts were numerous, and beneficiaries included many organizations and individuals in his home towns of Red Bank, Paint Bank and beyond.

His support of Roanoke College was extremely generous. He served on the board of trustees from 1980 to 1985 and, on multiple occasions, he and his wife Nancy funded major projects. They also challenged others to invest in Roanoke through matching gift programs. Former Roanoke president Dr. David Gring, said that Mr. Mulheren was "generous beyond any measure of duty or expectation."

Mr. Mulheren was the commencement speaker in 2002, and he took the opportunity to encourage the graduates to "develop a passion and help other people." His own life reflected those words well, and he left an indelible mark on the Roanoke campus.

John A. Mulheren received the Roanoke College Medal in 1983.