"The Big Picture"
After attending educational training for the Naval Supply Corps in Athens, Georgia, Charlie Wickham was stationed in the Persian Gulf. This experience and many others in the Navy cemented the value he places on travel.
When asked what inspired the Wickham Award, a travel grant awarded each year to a graduating Latin senior for use after his or her graduation from a college or university, Charlie attributed it to his work with the Navy. It was then that he realized he had a skill for analysis and "big" thinking, sharing "I was far ahead of the curve when I began my business career." Charlie feels that taking some time off after college graduation to travel without the pressures of home, school, or family provides a time for reflection and a way to learn more about oneself and the world. "Until you've been to some of these places, you don't know what it is like to walk in their shoes."
The Wickham children, Charles '78, John '80 and Mitchell '88, were all encouraged to take one year off after college graduation. The idea was not to go on a "grand scale or live in the Ritz" remembered Charlie, but to really learn something during a time when there is no other pressure. That time lends itself to deep thinking, reflection, and self-analysis. By giving this opportunity to young men and women who graduate from Latin, Mr. Wickham hopes the experiences will make them better leaders and, in turn, more productive members of society.
Selection criteria for the prospective annual Wickham Award recipient is not based on expertise in a specific subject area. Rather, the Wickhams look for the ability and potential to excel in any field. The only criteria for receiving the award is a college degree.
Charlie and his wife, Marty, continue to travel, having visited Budapest, Prague, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Kenya, Tanzania, London and Paris in the past year.
Charlie said that Derek Smith, Latin's Director of Global Studies, sums it up well when he describes the School's Model UN Program: "Model UN and Forensics are both really about developing empathy."
Understanding worldviews, articulating global and environmental issues, and analyzing current affairs and trends are much easier when one has direct experience with people and cultures across the globe, and the Wickham Award is Charlie Wickham's way of giving back to his children and grandchildren's (Amelie '22, Cora '24, Marisol '26) school while simultaneously helping young leaders develop "big picture" skills.