Alumni Profile: Christopher Pilkerton ’95

Alumni Profile: Christopher Pilkerton ’95

Photo of Christopher Pilkerton '95

Acting Administrator of the Small Business Administration

The SBA team makes a difference every day. We help people start small businesses. Two of every three net new jobs come from these entrepreneurs.

— Christopher Pilkerton '95

As acting administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Fairfield University graduate Christopher Pilkerton ’95 has a lot on his plate. But that’s just fine with him; he was prepared to multi-task and make important decisions while at Fairfield.

“Fairfield played an incredibly important role for me,” explained Pilkerton, a political science and communication major, who joined the SBA as its general counsel in 2017 and became acting administrator in April of 2019*.

“I had the opportunity to serve as the FUSA president, and as one of the first students elected to the local town council. Those experiences helped crystallize my interest in government and policy. I still use many of the lessons I learned during that time.”

Pilkerton, who lives on the eastern shore of Maryland with his wife, Amanda, a pastry chef, called his presidential cabinet-level position at SBA “unbelievably rewarding.” He has the opportunity to work alongside “so many talented and dedicated individuals towards a mission of helping people reach their goals of becoming entrepreneurs.”

He added, “I have the chance to visit these companies, hear directly from them, and see the many, many jobs that they are creating.”

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is an autonomous U.S. government agency established in 1953 to promote the economy by providing assistance to small businesses. The SBA provides a variety of financial resources for small businesses including microlending, or small loans that are issued to those who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for financing, as well guidance and entrepreneurial development. It also directs government contracts towards small business.

“The SBA team makes a difference every day,” Pilkerton said. “We help people start small businesses. Two of every three net new jobs come from these entrepreneurs.”

After graduating from Fairfield, Pilkerton attended law school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and began a legal career as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, working as a trial lawyer in

both the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the Office of Money Laundering and Tax Crimes. During that time, he obtained a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He went on to become senior counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, investigating cases related to insider trading and accounting fraud. He has been a partner in two law firms, representing clients in regulatory matters and providing general counsel services to early-stage companies and the financial services industry.

Pilkerton has also served on the board of directors of the NASDAQ Futures Exchange, and as the associate director of the Law and Public Policy Program at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. He was named one of Fortune magazine’s “Heroes of the Fortune 500” for his efforts to support orphans in Liberia affected by the Ebola virus.

He keeps in close touch with many of his classmates, some several times a week, and is a godfather to the children of two of his roommates. Pilkerton returned recently to his alma mater when he was invited to speak at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business.

“Between the experiences I had while I was at Fairfield, the friends that I made and am still close to, and the lessons I learned that I still use in my professional life, Fairfield’s impact on my life has exceeded all expectations I had when I applied in 1990,” he said.

“Much like the goals of the SBA,” Fairfield provides students with an environment to succeed, and empowers them to “follow their dreams,” continued Pilkerton. “A small liberal arts school in Connecticut allowed me to receive invaluable experience in politics. So many of my classmates were able to take advantage of its programs and location to pursue their areas of professional interest — whether it was medicine, financial services, entertainment, non-profit work, or entrepreneurial activities.”

In a summation of his approach to life and business, Pilkerton said, “I have always been moved by the adage, ‘If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?’” Based on his career trajectory, adherence to that adage has served him well.

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Growing Faith

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Letter from the President

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