University News

Scott Wrobbel’s dedication to accounting, service rooted in foundational UW-Whitewater experiences

April 24, 2024

Written by Dave Fidlin | Photos submitted

Portrait photo of Scott Wrobbel.

Whether it is in his personal or professional life, many of Scott Wrobbel’s foundational experiences that charted his trajectory as an adult trace back to his time on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.

Wrobbel, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 1980, went on to serve in what he has described as a fulfilling career in the field, initially with Arthur Andersen, before joining Deloitte as a partner in 2002. His work at Deloitte included a variety of roles serving many publicly traded and privately held companies and becoming a vice chair and the U.S. central region managing partner.

He will share his story as commencement speaker for UW-Whitewater’s spring 2024 commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11.

Decades have passed since Wrobbel, an Oconomowoc resident, turned his tassel and earned his degree, but UW-Whitewater, he said, has always been close to his heart.

“I’ve met lifelong friends, whether it was former roommates or people who were in the business school,” he said. “We remained in the Milwaukee area and are still close friends. We played basketball, softball, and golf together. It was a process of meeting a lot of wonderful people and outstanding educators.”

UW-Whitewater also is closely embedded within the Wrobbel family. Scott met his wife, Jean, on campus. Three of the couple’s four children are also Warhawks.

While a student on campus, Wrobbel made a long-term impact by serving as one of the founding members, in 1979, of the campus chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the international scholastic and professional organization for financial information students.

Wrobbel, whose father also worked in accounting, said at first he was unsure of pursuing the field of study, but grew to enjoy and appreciate the profession and its work.

“I have really positive memories of what the university provided to me to earn that degree and be in the position to interview with multiple firms and have job offers,” Wrobbel said. “Working for Arthur Andersen and then Deloitte provided me with an opportunity to serve some incredible clients — many of the largest and most recognizable names of companies in the state of Wisconsin.”

“Being a trusted advisor to so many of the wonderful clients that I’ve assisted in Wisconsin during moments that matter is something that I am incredibly proud of. Additionally, mentoring and guiding professionals throughout their careers has always been rewarding.”

Wrobbel, who retired from Deloitte in 2021, now serves on the board of directors of American Family Insurance, Johnson Financial Group and Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management. He has earned several achievements and recognitions during his career. One recent example — The Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants named him the winner of its 2023 Distinguished Career Award.

UW-Whitewater has also recognized Wrobbel for his career achievements. In 1994, he received the Beta Alpha Psi Award for Excellence in Accounting. Nearly two decades later, in 2013, he received the UW-Whitewater Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.

Throughout his career, Wrobbel said he felt a strong desire to give back — within his profession and in a broader context.

From 1996 to 2008, Wrobbel served on the UW-Whitewater Foundation Board, where he was a treasurer for a number of those years. He got involved at the beginning of the Excellence for the 21st Century campaign.

“That was my connection back to the university to provide support,” he said. “I loved the Whitewater experience. It was the right place for me at the time, and my experience turned out in the way I had hoped, so it only made sense for me to give back and pay it forward.”

Wrobbel also has given back to Children’s Wisconsin Foundation, which helps fund programs, services and research for Children’s Hospital. For Wrobbel, the hospital assisted his family in navigating a physical condition. One of the couple’s children was born with spina bifida and, as an adult, has been able to enjoy many quality-of-life experiences.

“I wanted to give back by helping families and, especially, helping children,” Wrobbel said. “The theme of making the community where we live and work better resonated with me.”

Wrobbel has held board and leadership positions at a number of organizations, including the Children’s Wisconsin Foundation, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, and the Andalusia Education Foundation.

Since his retirement from Deloitte, Wrobbel said his sense of service has only increased.

“I’ve been blessed in numerous ways in my professional life, and that has allowed me to give back in terms of service, including my talent and my treasure,” he said. “It’s continued to evolve and has become a full circle moment.”

When it comes to work and service, Wrobbel offers a timeless message that is as true today as it was when he was a student at UW-Whitewater, forging ahead toward his career.

“The work ethic, dedication and energy that you pour into something ultimately pays dividends — stay hungry and never settle for only good enough.”