by Kalena Coleman
Having a joyful smile that lights up his face, Joshua Gillespie, junior finance major at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul is a student known by many. From academics to his thoughtful insight as a panel speaker in chapel, Gillespie makes a significant impact on Northwestern’s campus.
Beyond Gillespie’s positive spirit, he is recognized on campus for his numerous involvements within the community. Being a full-time student Gillespie manages to find time working two jobs on campus. One being a statistics tutor and the other working in admissions as an ambassador.
“Each year my involvements continue to accumulate,” said Gillispie. “This year alone I am participating in the Black Student Union, Multicultural Mentors, Gospel Choir, FORCE, Accounting Club and am the executive director of the new student organization, CORE.”
Yet, his hectic schedule not stop him from accomplishing everything and making times for others.
“Josh is one of the most well-prepared people I know. He is always ready to do what needs to be done,” said Greta Elsholtz, junior public relations major.
Outside of Northwestern, Gillespie is heavily involved in Proverbs Christian Fellowship Church in North Minneapolis. His father, Darrel Gillespie, established the church when Gillespie was 7 years old. His family is a huge contributor to his success.
“My parents instilled in me the concept that it takes a village to raise a child,” said Gillespie. “I believe my parents surrounded me with community members that were able to pour into me the encouragement I needed to become who I am today.”
Gillespie has noted that his involvement at Northwestern has been preparing him to step well-equipped into the real world. He pictures himself in five years at a high investment banking firm advising and assisting inner-city family on where to invest to break the trends of poverty. He has a heart for helping those in impoverished areas within the Twin Cities.
His passion for these families began when he was little. He noticed families continually leaving the neighborhood in which he grew up because they were unable to make monthly payments. Thus, they were forced to move into section eight housing within the Twin Cities. Section eight housing is a federal act that was established in 1937 that assists low-income households. Often the government will subsidize the difference between the cost of rent and the tenant’s income.
“Experiencing this and having a lot of friends who endured this was always something that touched home for me,” said Gillespie. “My hope is that I am able to get involved in helping those in poverty to break the financial cycle they find themselves in. My ultimate goal is able to go into the city’s public schools. There is a link between a student’s academic performance and their home life. I want to start with the home life.”
Gillespie’s empathy for other could be stemmed from his family. His family has adopted seven children when he was growing up.
“Josh is a caring friend. I appreciate the way he takes time out of his schedule to listen to how I’m really doing, and he is comfortable sharing his real life with me,” said Elsholtz.
As Gillespie is beginning to finish his time at Northwestern his goal is to make a different on campus.
“As I am involved in numerous things on campus I hope to leave a legacy. My goal is to inspire others to get involved in school just like I have,” said Gillispie.