When Eric Tonn graduated from high school in Madison, Ala., he pushed the college selection process to new heights by visiting 23 different colleges looking for exactly the right environment to further his education.
"I applied to nine schools and finally settled on either UGA or Penn," says Tonn. "I was looking to go into political science and economics, so business was always on my mind."
After what he calls "major decision angst," Tonn chose UGA over the venerable Ivy League school with its world renowned Wharton business school. The deciding factor was UGA's combination of academics, social life, football, and weather.
"I can now look back and not picture myself anywhere else than Terry," says Tonn. "The support I've received from both faculty and fellow students has confirmed both my university choice and my major choice."
Tonn, a current Terry College SGA senator, started out as a double major in risk management-insurance and political science, but that changed when he decided to enroll in REAL 4000 (Real Estate Principles).
"It was mostly on a whim," Tonn recalls, "but after few days in the course, I realized I had made the right decision. The subject matter — real estate valuation, appraisals, and mortgage structures — was both practical and interesting. As the course progressed, I found myself more captivated by the material, picturing myself eventually working in the real estate investment branch of a major corporation. I also discovered that much of the course material overlapped or complemented the coursework for my risk management-insurance major. So adding real estate as a second major also expanded my options when I enter the corporate world."
Tonn will receive his BBA in RMI this spring and a second BBA in real estate a year later, which will give him time to add to his long list of honors, extracurricular activities, and both domestic and international travel. He started his college career as a freshman orientation leader. He is a recipient of ILA's LEAD Program certificate, as well as a member of Blue Key. In April, he was one of two UGA students to attend the annual Risk and Insurance Management Society conference in San Diego. This summer, he will participate in Terry's ongoing ILA study-abroad program in Tanzania, returning home in time to intern with insurance giant Marsh in Atlanta before classes start in August.
Tonn's initial interest in political science led to an opportunity to contribute an essay to the summer '06 issue of The Monitor, a quarterly report published by UGA's Center for International Trade and Security. Tonn and fellow undergraduate Lee Moore co-authored a piece that made a case for the Bush administration to support admitting China to the group of nations that participate in the G-8 summits. They based their argument, in part, on business principles, making the point that China has a surging economy and, thus, an immense potential for international leadership. G-8 membership, they reasoned, might encourage China to play a more active role in international nonproliferation efforts.
"My career goal is to find a career that helps others," says Tonn, who has to struggle to find time for one of his favorite pastimes — playing the guitar. "When I enter the workforce, I plan to pursue various licenses in the risk management-insurance and real estate fields. I do plan to pursue either an MBA or JD, depending on where my career takes me."