One of our most touching Homecoming traditions is the awarding of those with Alumni Merit. Alumni Merit Awards have been presented annually since 1958 to Southeast alumni who have brought distinction to themselves and the University.

Each month, we'll take a closer look at this year's recipients and the honor they bring to the University and the impact they've made beyond SEMO. This month, we meet Scott Giles who is impacting students at Southeast and across Missouri.

Scott Giles is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA), and Chairman of the Board for Knowledge Finance. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation.

Giles previously served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, while transitioning into the CEO role. Giles also previously served as the Director of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer for MOHELA from 2006 to 2018 and as Treasurer from 2005 to 2006.

Before transitioning to CEO at MOHELA, Giles spent a few years in Round Rock, Texas, where he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Trellis Company, Trellis Ventures and Waypoint from 2018 to 2021. There, he was a member of the Texas Business Leadership Council and the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce.

In his prior roles with MOHELA, Giles was responsible for the Finance, Accounting, Treasury Management, Procurement, Printing and Mail Support Services, Facilities, Contracted Loan Servicing, and Lender Services and Reconciliation areas, as well as the Issuer’s capital structure strategy, financing transactions, interest rate risk management, cash management, investing and insurance.

Prior to joining MOHELA in 2005, he served as the Director of the Missouri Student Loan Group of the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Giles is currently the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Higher Education Resources, and he previously served as a member and chairman of the Board for Mapping Your Future. He has also served as a commissioned bank examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and as an assistant bank examiner with the Missouri Division of Finance.

Giles holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Southeast Missouri State University and Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri Columbia.

Giles said his time at Southeast, both in and outside the classroom, provided an amazing foundation for a successful career. A “critical turning point” in his life, Giles said, was taking his first finance class with former Southeast Professor of Finance, Dr. David Kunz.

In recognition of all that Southeast did for his career, and to honor his family’s support throughout his time at Southeast, Giles made a gift to the University Foundation to name a finance classroom. The Giles and Kreter family classroom is on the second floor of Robert A. Dempster Hall.

“I am most proud that the organizations I represent have helped make the college and career dreams of countless students and families come true,” Giles said.

Giles and his wife Jennifer have one daughter, Abbey. They reside in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, after recently relocating back from the Austin, Texas area.