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Raised in Keyport, N.J., the youngest of three, Kurt Poling ’89 was the first in his family at attend college. Naturally, he didn’t really know about Moravian College, but as a standout football player in high school, Moravian knew about him.
“Charlie Heidecker (a member of the Greyhounds 1970 championship football team and a track coach) would call my house, and he talked to my mom so many times, telling her he just wanted me to visit Moravian,” remembers Poling. “And she made me visit because she had promised Charlie that I would!”
Poling had already visited Juniata College and liked it, but fell in love with Moravian on his first visit. “When I stepped on campus and met Doug Pollard, a football and track coach, and Jimmy Joseph ’86 who took me on my first tour, I just knew this was the place for me,” Poling says.
And that knowledge grew with his years here, playing football for four years, and studying first to be a teacher and coach, then changing his major to business and French, and finally to graduating with a degree in management. After taking a class in investment banking during January term (which was required for two years then) with James Ravelle, professor in the sociology department, Poling knew he was headed for the world of business.
“The six-week course was a total immersion into what Wall Street was all about,” says Poling. “I had also taken business law with Dr. Ravelle, and I began to learn about economics and capitalism, and just the way he looked at things influenced me to switch my major.”
As intense as Poling’s work in the business classroom and on the football field were, he values the liberal arts classes he also was exposed to, including what he learned in his second January term in junior year about the earth, music and religion. He also learned the value of Moravian’s small class sizes.
“Although the campus is intimate and quaint, it is also very intense,” he explains. “You cannot hide in the classroom at Moravian. At some large schools, you get your grades posted on the wall, listed by Social Security number. But at Moravian, the professor will know who you are and what you’re capable of achieving—even what you’re thinking.
“You have to develop the ability to have input in that classroom. And I challenge anyone to find someone with a Moravian degree who isn’t able to think more critically because of their education at Moravian and add something of value to the business they’re involved with.
“Put athletics on top of that, with the additional demands, and you have a person who has been tested and tried before entering the real world.”
For Poling, the real world in some respects has been an extension of his Moravian experience, as he has stayed active with the Alumni Association, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and is vice president of the Blue & Grey Club.
“I developed a confidence that there was nothing I couldn’t do or achieve,” he says. The toughness of football training, the mental challenges of the classroom, and the supportive people of Moravian all combined to instill in Poling the understanding of commitment, hard work, sacrifice and team dynamics.
“There is an interconnedtedness and family feeling at Moravian,” he says. “Everywhere you turn, there’s so much pride in being a Hound. There’s an affinity between us all, a bond between alumni. It’s a people place and we have very good people at Moravian who help make the difference in who you are in the future.”
"I challenge anyone to find someone with a Moravian degree who is not able to think more critically because of their education at Moravian."