St. Olaf student named to U.S. Bank ‘Future Leaders’ program

Chris Casey ’18 (right), pictured with Andrew Petterson ’18, will return to U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the Super Bowl as part of the “Future Leaders” program.

Baseball may be the sport that drew Chris Casey ’18 to St. Olaf College, but this February his focus will be on football.

As one of U.S. Bank’s “Future Leaders,” Casey will not only attend Super Bowl LII but also network with National Football League staff and others working at the game. The prestigious program selected three young leaders from Minnesota who are passionate about achieving their goals and dedicated to giving back to their communities.

Chris Casey ’18 on Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.

A senior Economics major, Casey is involved with a wide variety of organizations and projects — from serving as a senator in the St. Olaf Student Government Association (SGA) to working as an Admissions Fellow to volunteering with youth and at-risk youth at the Minnesota Twins Youth Camps and adults with disabilities at River Valley Project Explore. He has hosted a campus radio show called “Turning Two” and studied innovation in New Zealand as part of a St. Olaf study abroad course.

“My biggest takeaway was that innovation can come in many different forms and with little resources,” he says. “I also enjoyed seeing a new culture and how that shapes a country. I will say — seeing my first mountain was a pretty cool experience too!”

A native of Eagan, Minnesota, Casey chose to attend St. Olaf because he wanted to be a part of an academically strong community while continuing to play baseball. During his four years on campus, he’s taken rigorous courses, joined many activities, and made countless friends along the way.

“That welcoming culture I wanted so much while on my final visit to campus has definitely become a reality,” Casey says. “Whether it is athletics, student government, or academics, Oles want to do their best, while also not being afraid to help each other out along the way.”

“Being an Ole means that you are a respectful, collaborative individual who takes pride in any task,” says Chris Casey ’18. “Oles do not settle for the bare minimum — we take steps to achieve the best results.”

In addition to his work on campus, Casey has held numerous internships, including one with Schwarz Dygos Wheeler Investment Advisors in downtown Minneapolis, where he learned about the different ways to build client portfolios and experiment with different marketing campaigns.

He also interned for the U.S. Bank Innovation team, where he experimented with technology such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. “It was a dream come true,” he says. “The team gave me the chance to experiment with many cutting-edge technologies and also taught me how to incorporate innovations into a company’s long-term strategy.” 

This January, Casey will participate in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program. And after graduation, Casey has accepted a role as senior business analyst in Optum’s Consulting Development Program, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.

Throughout his college career, Casey has been blown away by the strength of St. Olaf’s alumni network. Ole alumni have been instrumental in helping him gain internships and job experience.

“You hear that ‘Oles help Oles’ everywhere, but you don’t realize the power of that phrase until you really reach out to it,” he says. “I know when I graduate, I will be proud to join such an active alumni group.”

As a “Future Leader,” Casey aims to make significant, positive differences in the lives of others. As an Ole grad, his work ethic will always be informed by what he learned on the Hill: “Being an Ole means that you are a respectful, collaborative individual who takes pride in any task,” he says. “Oles do not settle for the bare minimum — we take steps to achieve the best results.”