Skip To Main Content

Custom Class: header-container

Custom Class: header-utility-container

Custom Class: header-breadcrumb


2023 H. K. Cotton Lecture: Steph Jackson ’80 and Brett Hollander ’03

Head of School Henry P. A. Smyth welcomed Gilman’s 2023 H. K. Douglas Cotton Memorial Lecture speakers on Thursday, March 23. The lecture series has been held every year since 1981 (with the exception of 2020) to help familiarize students with career paths that are available to them. Cotton, for whom the lecture is named, moved to Baltimore for Johns Hopkins University; his relationship with Gilman began many years later when his grandson came to Gilman. Cotton’s descendants, members of the Swindell family, including a student in 12th grade, attended the lecture.

Steph Jackson ’80 is head of T. Rowe Price Investment Management. He is a member of the Management Committee and a member of the Black Leadership Council, and is the Executive Sponsor of Moonshot, a T. Rowe Price Foundation sponsored program supporting for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs of color. When he attended Gilman, he played basketball, sang in Glee Club, and was a member of the Black Awareness Club. He has served on Gilman’s Board of Trustees and is now a member of the Governance Committee.

In his role, he leads an organization of 130 people, managing $175 billion in client investments. He spoke to the Upper School students about the values at T. Rowe Price and how they are similar to those at Gilman. The company invests money for individuals, foundations, schools, universities, hospitals, and corporations. “Investing that money wisely is extremely important work,” he said. “Clients come first. Our values include integrity, collaboration, intellectual honesty, and mutual respect.”

He explained the basics of investing and the stock market. As he described compound interest, he insisted that the boys “do the math” themselves to see “how much you can grow a nest egg over time.”

Finally, Jackson shared about his life growing up in West Baltimore. “I was very aware of how difficult an environment I was growing up in.” He transferred to Gilman in the seventh grade. “The switch to Gilman changed the trajectory of my life.”

Brett Hollander ’03, who Smyth introduced as “a name and maybe more familiarly a voice you may recognize,” is a broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles with a résumé that includes radio play-by-play announcer, sideline reporter, and pre- and post-game show host. He was a 12-year Gilman man, and famously initiated the original sports broadcasting that would eventually become what is now GTV. He is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors, and he is on his 20th Reunion Committee.

Hollander talked about the process of getting Gilman’s first broadcast started — assembling a team of students, garnering support from faculty and administrators, and getting approval to buy equipment. He proudly shared that there was a front-page story in The Baltimore Sun about it at the time.

He advised the students that working hard and learning from struggles are what lead to fulfillment. “Any satisfaction I take out of my career isn’t in achievement; it’s in the work, effort, and sacrifice.”

After the lecture, the conversation continued in the Gilman Room where boys connected with the speakers in small groups, talking about career paths, investments, and baseball.

Watch the lecture below.


More News and Views from Roland Avenue and Beyond