By Lea Hart
Amir Mehr’s time at North Carolina State University was not just a four-year college experience, it was the beginning of lasting relationships with the people he met and with the university itself.
Amir came from New Jersey to enroll at NC State in 1988. Seeking a great college with a vibrant sports scene and warmer weather, he enrolled at NC State—his first choice—without having the advantage of being able to visit the campus. Today, he looks back with no regrets.
“It was just a great experience to come here; I loved going to school here,” he said. “I met a lot of good friends who are still friends to this day, and most importantly, that’s where I also met my wife.”
His wife, Anne, was enrolled at Meredith College where she graduated in 1993, and the two said much of their social lives revolved around NC State and Amir’s fraternity, where he met so many people he still calls friends today.
He knew he wanted to study business – this was before Poole College of Management existed – but was unsure what field he would study in. It was the instructors of his accounting classes who helped Amir settle into a major.
“I had a series of great accounting teachers who made it really interesting for me,” he said. “I remember that feeling like the first time I said, this is definitely what I want to study.”
I remember this feeling like the first time I said, this is definitely what I want to study.
Amir graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting in 1992 and has spent much of the past 30 years working in the financial services industry at investment banks in New York and London, specializing in capital markets at fixed income. He currently works for UK-based Kensington Mortgages as Director of Portfolio Strategy, Credit and Analytics and also sits on the board of their parent company. The couple live in North Raleigh, but Amir often travels to the UK for work.
This fall, Amir will receive the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award from Poole College of Management. Looking at his family’s commitment to NC State over the years, it’s easy to see the honor is well deserved.
Anne and Amir have remained connected to NC State and Poole College of Management in many ways. Amir has been named a member of Poole College’s Advisory Council, while Anne sits on NC State’s Student Success Council, which supports the Academic and Student Affairs Division.
Additionally, NC State and Poole College are quickly becoming a family tradition. Amir’s sister, Ghazale Johnston, also attended NC State and has her own relationship with the university, currently serving as chair of the board of the NC State Foundation. Two of Amir and Anne’s children also chose to attend NC State. Matthew graduated from Poole College in 2022, while Madelyn is currently pursuing a double major in Business Administration and Political Science. Their youngest, Harrison, is a senior this year, so it’s possible another member will join the Wolfpack soon.
“If you look at our family, NC State is really rooted,” Amir said. “It’s something that’s part of our lives and comes to mind most of the time.”
If you look at our family, NC State is really rooted. It is something that is part of our lives and often comes to mind.
These meaningful ties are part of the reason Amir and Anne chose to create the Mehr Family Faculty Enrichment Endowment last year. Funds from the endowment will be used to support Poole’s faculty excellence in a number of ways. Some examples include use for faculty recruitment and retention, faculty enrichment activities, or research support, among others.
Amir said they chose to support Poole faculty after the college leadership team identified this as an area of need.
“It makes sense,” Amir said. “If you have really talented people teaching students, you get better educated students.
“I had great experiences with the faculty when I was at NC State, and without some of the mentors I had, I might have been in a different position coming out – it was a natural way to help.”
It’s also about a desire to give back that was instilled in them by their own families growing up, he said.
“We try to pass that on to our kids, and our parents passed that on to us. When you’re lucky, one of your biggest responsibilities is to give back,” he said.
As they also come full circle, now watching their own children have meaningful experiences at Poole College and NC State, it has been an opportunity to see how Poole College has grown and developed and that is something they want to support for the future.
“I remember the program long before it was at Poole College, and I thought it was great back then,” Amir said. “If you think about it, it’s a pretty young business school and it’s amazing to see what they’ve done.”
From the volume and types of courses offered by Poole to the forward-thinking focus on data and analytics, Amir said the college is doing everything it takes to produce the best graduates.
Amir and Anne say they have also been impressed with the network of relationships Poole has developed among potential employers.
Although it is Amir who will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, he is quick to say that it was only possible because of his support system.
“This wouldn’t have happened without the mentors and experiences I had at NC State, the friends I made there, and the support of my parents who taught me the importance of resilience and who helped send me and my brother and sister and their friendship there,” he said. “And then my wife, who is the only person I still know is on my side who, with my children are my inspiration.
Receiving this award and being honored by it means a lot, but it’s not something that was done on an island – I have an incredibly supportive cast and crew with me.
“Receiving this award and being honored by it means a lot, but it’s not something that was done on an island – I have an incredibly supportive cast and crew with me.”