The awards were announced by Dean Chris Guthrie, and Tarkington and Welling will be honored at the 2011 Founders Circle Dinner on April 8.
Carlton Tarkington retired from a successful career as an executive with West Publishing and then founded Edinburgh Investments, a broker in the investments, real estate and banking sector, in 1996. He has since founded two banks, the Bank of Bellevue and PrimeTrust Bank, which merged with Bank of the South in 2006. In 1998, Tarkington endowed the law school’s Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence, a three-year appointment that recognizes members of Vanderbilt’s law faculty for outstanding classroom teaching and student mentoring. Professor Emeritus Tom McCoy, a constitutional law expert, was the first chair holder, followed by the late Professor Richard Nagareda, a renowned teacher who taught complex litigation. The current chair holder is Professor Michael Vandenbergh, who teaches courses in environmental and property law. Tarkington served on the law school’s Board of Advisors (formerly known as the National Council) and supported the major expansion and renovation the law school completed in 2002 by endowing the Tarkington Suite, which includes the library’s reading room, a computer lab and a computer room. His son, Bruce L. Tarkington ’01, earned both his J.D. and undergraduate (BS ’98) degrees at Vanderbilt.
Curt Welling is the president and chief executive officer of AmeriCares, a leading international humanitarian aid organization for delivering donated medicines and supplies. Among his many accomplishments, Welling directed AmeriCares relief efforts for several large-scale disasters, including the Myanmar cyclone, the China earthquake, the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2004, he launched a program that delivers medial aid to clinics serving displaced persons in Darfur, Sudan and neighboring Chad.
Before joining AmeriCares, Welling had a successful 25-year career as an executive in the investment banking and securities industry in senior executive roles, serving as president and chief executive officer of SG Cowen Securities Corporation and senior managing director of global equity capital markets at Bear Stearns. He currently serves as a director of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., as a member of the Board of Visitors at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College, as vice chair of The Adirondack Council, and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt, Welling earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. at Dartmouth. In 2006, he delivered the law school’s Victor I. Johnson Lecture, “From Sudan to Tsunami: Reflections of a Recovering Investment Banker.” His daughter, Katie Welling, earned her undergraduate degree (BS ’05) at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.
“Both of these men have used their legal education not only to build successful careers, but also to build institutions that enriched their communities,” Dean Chris Guthrie said. “After a long and successful career as a publishing executive, Carlton Tarkington became a successful entrepreneur, and he has been a stalwart supporter of the law school, contributing both his time and his resources to our advancement. Curt Welling was the guiding force behind AmeriCares’ delivery of health care supplies and resources to fulfill the health care needs of people around the world and in the United States. I’m proud to announce that Carlton Tarkington will be honored as our 2011 Distinguished Alumnus, and that Curt Welling will receive our 2011 Distinguished Service Award.”