by Jacob Rogers
Imagine this: one minute you are working with professional athletes and the next thing you know, you are back in college. That’s the life Scott Samuels has lived.
Samuels, vice president at Rochester College, formerly worked at a brokerage firm in Birmingham, Michigan, where he worked with some of the wealthiest people in the state, including Detroit Tigers legend Cecil Fielder. Samuels advised Fielder on his investments, estate planning, and cash and real estate management.
“Cecil was easily my biggest client,” Samuels said. “I’ve worked with other athletes and other big clients, but Cecil was by far my biggest client. During the 10 years I worked with Cecil, I became close personal friends with Cecil and his family,” Samuels said. “My work with Cecil was a highlight of my professional career.”
Samuel’s career has taken him in a few different directions, but it all started when he was growing up in Clawson, Michigan. Samuels’ family was connected to Rochester College (then Michigan Christian College) when he was young because his parents helped fundraise for the college when it was first founded. Samuel’s relationship to the school has not waned.
He first started working at the college as an associate professor of business from 2002-2005. Now as a vice president, he oversees enrollment for both traditional and accelerated programs, development and alumni relations, and communication services.
From 2005-2014, Samuels worked in the development and admissions department, before leaving to work at Oakland Christian School, where he would originally serve as the senior director of development before taking over as head of the school. In 2017, Samuels returned to RC and is grateful for this opportunity.
“I enjoyed the challenge at OCS, but I was very grateful for the chance to return to RC,” Samuels said. “Working to advance the mission and vision of RC is very important to me and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be back.”
Samuels has worked closely with Klint Pleasant, senior vice president and special assistant to the president. “Scott sees the big picture but at the same time is good with the details as well,” Pleasant said. “He has a passion to be a part of RC’s community moving forward and that passion is contagious. I have always appreciated his work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Not only have Pleasant and Samuels became close as colleagues, but also as friends.
“I cannot imagine having a better friend,” Pleasant said. “We have been there for each other throughout the past 15 years and have shared some incredible memories together…I trust him as much as anyone and value his friendship very much.”
Not only has Klint Pleasant played a role in Samuels’ life, but so has Klint’s father, Garth Pleasant.
“When I came to RC in 2002, I immediately found a connection with Garth Pleasant,” Samuels said. “My connection with the Pleasant family has been a real blessing in my life.”
Before RC, Samuels, a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, worked in various financial positions, including the National Bank of Detroit and UBS.
“It seems like I have lived two lives. Working in banking and investment management was challenging and provided me with many opportunities,” Samuels said. “I never expected to have a career in education, but I have found it very rewarding. I especially enjoy having an opportunity to influence young people.”
Samuels lives with his wife, Christie, and son, Jake, in Oxford.