JTHS Alumni Spotlight: John Wirt, Joliet East Class of 1981

JohnWirt.pngCareer & Education At-a-Glance

  • Knox College, B.A., magna cum laude in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics)
  • University of Illinois, CPA
  • University of Illinois, JD, cum laude
  • Phi Beta Kappa

John Wirt, Joliet East Class of 1981, now travels around the globe enjoying a successful and thrilling career as a boxing promoter, but Joliet will always have a special place in his heart. After developing his love of learning at JT East, Wirt has opened many doors through a liberal arts education and hard work.

He began his journey at the Cherry Hill, Haines, Bentley grade schools and continued on to Oakview Junior High prior to attending Joliet East High School. While at Joliet East, Wirt strived to become the best he could be by getting involved in a variety of activities. A talented and hardworking performer, he played the lead in West Side Story and was a valued member of Kolage, Choir, and Theatre. 

He was also actively involved as a Mathlete, a wrestler, and cross-country runner. Having been the Captain of the JT East Swim Team, Wirt proudly jokes, “The only thing of good that came out of East closing is that my high school swimming record for the 50-yard freestyle will never be broken.”

When asked about his biggest inspirations throughout his time within Joliet East’s walls, he recalled his former teacher, “Arlene Nuti--Her passion and dedication to her students and her craft was unrivaled. As a result, Kolage and her musicals are legendary.”

After graduating from Joliet East, Wirt attended Knox College, and received a B.A., magna cum laude in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). Afterwards, he received a CPA’s license and JD law degree, cum laude, from the University of Illinois. In that time, Wirt became a proud member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States. 

Through these experiences among others, Wirt now has a career that many dream of. Describing his life as a boxing promoter, Wirt shares, “I have promoted fights at Madison Square Garden, Mandalay Bay in Vegas, and in numerous other arenas and venues around the U.S. and across the world.”

He has had the opportunity of meeting many fascinating people while on the job. For example, Wirt has met international leaders like the Prince Albert of Monaco, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. He has also met celebrities such as Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Hayden Panettiere. 

When asked what advice he would give to students today, he said, “As my favorite college accounting teacher once said, ‘this course is about teaching you how to read carefully, to think critically and to learn how to learn, and if you happen to pick up a little accounting along the way, that will be just icing on the cake.’ To me, that is the best example of how a true liberal arts education best prepares you for your career and indeed, life.”

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