President Barack Obama’s “little brother” and body man recapped his journey from Duke basketball to the White House to Wharton.
A seminar-sized audience of 30 listened as Reggie Love, former personal aide to the president, gave advice and provided humorous anecdotes about his experiences.
At 6-foot-1, Love may have seemed imposing in formal attire, but he soon brought the audience in with a humble, honest appeal.
Most students who attended the event, such as visiting Swarthmore College sophomore Jack Momeyer, knew Love as only “the body man for Obama.”
Love, however, began his career with a football scholarship to Duke University before “fooling” basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski into putting him on the team. By senior year, Love was chosen as captain of the basketball team, and he led the team to an ACC Championship.
After Love graduated Duke in 2005, his mother nagged him for not doing enough with his life. Rather than spending his time “playing 36 holes,” Love went internship hunting.
Though he was offered a lucrative internship with Goldman Sachs that paid more than $100,000 more a year, Love opted for a six-month internship with the future president, to his mother’s dismay.
Love explained that he chose the position with Obama because, as a young person with no overhead such as a wife or children, it was his only chance to take such a low-paying job.
Five and half years later, Love was still working with Obama. He described the experience as “like drinking from a fire hose.”
When he arrived for his first day on the job, he was already posed with a mail organizing problem. Initially, Love thought “well that sounds like his problem,” referring to the mail organizer. However, not being one to shirk duty, Love reorganized the entire system. Soon his boss was lauding him to the whole campaign crew. “It was just Excel,” Love joked.
Afterwards, Love found himself moving up the ranks, finally receiving the position of body man. Love was always just a step away from the president — whether it was a step ahead to check the set and make sure all was ready for a speech or a step to the side to use a Tide to Go pen on Obama’s tie.
However, being an aide could not take up the 28-year-old Love’s entire life. In 2011, Love started taking classes at Wharton. Though Love explained this was a logical choice because Penn is close to Washington and is a top-10 school, he would have admittedly preferred taking a political track in his education that Penn did not offer. In addition, Love was offered an array of internships once he decided to leave the White House, but refused to take any of them.
“Don’t give me something I didn’t earn,” Love said.
College senior Tobi Abegunde said he attended because of Love’s affiliation to Obama and thought the event was great. In accordance, Wharton senior Susann Almasi thought, from hearing about Love’s college basketball experience to his ability to bring his insights back to an intellectual work field, “[that] it was an absolutely incredible experience.”
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