Facebook ‘Likes’ Outstanding Business Grad

The virtual world of social media just became tangible to Hunter Durham. The marketing major and Outstanding Graduate of the Rinker School of Business is headed to Facebook, where he’ll serve as an account manager based in their Austin, Texas, operation.

In his new capacity, the Springfield, Missouri, native will work with up to 60 advertisers to optimize their Facebook presence. “The next few years are to learn as much as possible in the digital marketing space,” Durham said. “I really am looking forward to that opportunity. For me, marketing is the intersection of business and people, two things that I really have a passion for. I love the intricacies and complexities that both of them present.”

Durham is already looking ahead, admitting that “part of me sees Facebook as a place I would like to stay and work my way up to become a marketing director or vice president.” When that time comes, it will be a decision he makes with his wife of two years Tabitha, formerly Thomason, who graduated from PBA in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

For those who know Durham, there is no doubt he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to. Dr. Sam Joeckel, professor of English, calls Hunter “a unique combination of intellect, conviction, and empathy.” In the classroom, “he had the intellect to understand the heart of an issue and conviction to stake a position. At the same time, he could empathize with those who disagreed and understand why they felt the way they did.”

Durham distinguished himself early on at PBA. After an injury sidelined his soccer career freshman year, he poured himself into founding Sailfish AMA, PBA’s chapter of the collegiate American Marketing Association. He subsequently led the organization as president for four years, helping to grow the membership from 10 to 36 students.

For the past two years, the chapter has been recognized for excellence at the AMA International Collegiate Conference, said Scott Spell, assistant professor of management. “This is due in large part to Hunter’s focused leadership.”

Durham’s laser focus pervaded everything he did. In fact, he isn’t shy in saying that outstanding graduate was a goal. “I knew I was capable of that,” he said. “And I worked really hard during my time at school.” A member of the Supper Honors Program, Durham took 18 credit hours multiple semesters, part of which involved pursuing a minor in Spanish. He also held a succession of internships at powerhouse businesses such as Dell and Microsoft.

That kind of drive can easily overtake a person. But not Durham. Spell said, “What I will most remember is Hunter’s joyful approach to life. His work demonstrates both intelligence and delight, the latter rooted in sure and solid faith.”

Success for Durham isn’t measured in terms of worldly gain. “If I hadn’t earned outstanding graduate honors, I would have been OK with that. I’m most proud of the students and the success we had in the Sailfish AMA,” he said. As such, Durham is committed to giving back to the organization he founded and to supporting the marketing students in the coming years. “I learned over my time at PBA to care less about awards and accolades and more about the people I impact.”