THE LIGHT BEHIND THEIR EYES: School of Business Dean Sergio Castello found a forever home in academia for himself—and his tennis racquet—at Wingate

By Savannah Phillips, Triangle Features Editor

Cover Photo Taken by Anesu Simango

Dr. Sergio Castello, Wingate University’s Dean of the Porter B. Byrum School of Business since 2020, came to the United States on a tennis scholarship at the age of 18 with $157, one suitcase, and two tennis rackets. A native of Barcelona, Spain, Castello did not speak English upon his arrival but continuously saw the United States as the land of opportunity. 

At an early age, Castello felt compelled to help people but didn’t know quite how. As he developed a passion for learning, his professors encouraged him to further his college education, giving him time to figure out the questions he had been asking himself. 

Reminiscing of a time in his undergraduate career, Castello explained that a professor had written, “I know you can do better,” on one of his papers. It was this act that made him wonder what he was capable of. “How hard are you going to try, and how many times?” Castello recalled saying to himself. 

Castello earned three degrees, with the first being a bachelor’s in business administration from Freed-Hardeman University in 1989. In 1991, he received his MBA from the University of Memphis and then obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Colorado State University five years later. 

Castello soon felt inspired to educate people and ultimately help them choose their educational goals, putting him on the path to Wingate in 2016. “When the door opened, I walked through it,” said Castello, who added that he never really planned his professional life. 

Though he had worked at two previous institutions, Castello found Wingate to have the feeling of home, and he closely related to the university’s motto: “faith, knowledge, service.” Having been an international student and athlete, Castello was attracted to the programs that Wingate offered such students. 

He has found that being a dean is a rewarding experience, but he continues to teach economics courses at the university. “Make sure that the knowledge that you acquire, you use it to serve others and not just yourself,” said Castello. “The more you know, the less you know. You realize how much you don’t know.” 

Castello said he keeps three key terms, each of which keep him centered, in his mind for constant remembrance: “gratitude, humility and patience.” In a world that demands things instantly, Castello offers a different approach—to simply have faith

“Have faith that God will always lead you,” Castello said. “When the door opens, take the opportunity and go through the door.” 

Castello has paid it forward, putting back into the world what he has been given.

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