Patrick Wilkening grew up on a farm in Harvard, Illinois. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University in 2014. After graduation, Patrick enlisted in the United States Army as a Fire Support Specialist. He attended Airborne training and was assigned to the 1-319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. During his service, Patrick was recognized as the Distinguished Honor Graduate of his Noncommissioned Officer Academy and served as a team leader on the nation’s Global Response Force. As a fire support sergeant, Patrick realized he could leverage his leadership skills to have a positive impact in business. He is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. He chose the University of Notre Dame because its mission of using “business as a force for good” aligns with his own professional purpose. Patrick is eager to give back to the veteran community by helping service members make a successful transition into higher education.