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Wally Weitz ‘70 inducted into Omaha Business Hall of Fame

<nother Carleton alumnus is being recognized in the world. Wallace “Wally” R. Weitz ‘70, will be one of six individuals inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame on April 12.

Weitz, a long time member of the Carleton Board of Trustees along with his wife, Barbara Veach Weitz ‘70, successfully co-chaired the $300 million Breaking Barriers, Creating Connections campaign for the school. The Weitz family has remained very involved in Carleton’s affairs, and in honor of their generous donation, the Arts Union building has been renamed as the Weitz Center for Creativity.

Weitz serves on the executive committee of Building Bright Futures, which is an Omaha non-profit group that aims to improve education in the city. According to the Omaha-World Herald, Weitz has “gained national prominence as one of Omaha’s proponents of value investing”. Weitz also serves on the executive committee of Building Bright Futures, an Omaha non-profit group aimed at helping Omaha schools.

Both his business methods and apparel are a bit out of the ordinary. As the Herald states, Weitz’s “trademark working uniform” includes suspenders and plaid shirts in contrast to the typical “button-down money managers”.

Weitz is in charge of a group of investment professionals who manage around $3 billion, where “he is known as a contrarian money manager, willing to make investments that run counter to popular thinking,” states the Herald. His funds are often ranked at the top of the list for performance. Weitz was quoted to have told Barron’s, “We start to get pretty excited for companies that are an opportunity to pay 60 cents for a dollar’s worth of value”. 
Weitz has been curious about investing since he was twelve years old when he began to invest profits from his childhood earnings. He followed the market carefully throughout high school, carefully investing and choosing stocks wisely. After reading Benjamin Graham, an American economist famous for being one of the first proponents of value investing, Weitz transformed his thinking on investment.

According to the Weitz Funds website, “Wally’s approach to value investing has evolved over the years. It combines Graham’s price sensitivity and an insistence to a “margin of safety” with a conviction that qualitative factors that allow companies to have some control over their own destinies can be more important than statistical measurements, such as historical book value or reported earnings.”

Weitz remains an active member of the Carleton community. After majoring in economics at Carleton, he worked for three years as a securities analyst in New York and then joined the Chiles Heider & Co. brokerage in Omaha. In 1983, he founded Wallace Weitz & Co., where he currently heads a group of eight investment professionals.

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