The first of the Ralph Nye Executive Lecture Series kicked off on Thursday, Sept. 6. The lecture series is geared toward students with business-related majors, giving advice on how to be more successful in their future careers.
The Nye family started giving to Weber State University during the 1980s. Before Ralph Nye passed away, he wanted to give money from his charitable foundations to WSU. His brother Alan Nye used the money as a gift to WSU after Ralph died.
Since the early 1990s, speakers have come in to speak at the lecture series. Successful business people from around the community or who have graduated from WSU have come to speak about their success.
The lecture series is a required class for students in the business field, but it is also free to the public.
“This year, we’ve got some awesome speakers,” said Lauren Altdoerffer, development director for the Goddard School of Business and Economics.
On Thursday, former T-Mobile CEO Robert Dotson presented to students about how he came to be in his position. His presentation was called “Calculated Risk-Taking, Chase Buffalo.”
Dotson graduated from WSU with an economics degree in 1987. He also received a doctorate of humanities.
Dotson said no one retires at 50.
“The answer is I paused at 50, and I’m looking now to see what should the next half of my career look like,” he said.
Dotson said he is currently looking to see where he can make a difference in the community.
Dotson was one of the students who felt it was OK to sit in the back of the classroom for the first three years to get his degree. It took until his fourth year to find out he needed to get involved if he wanted to be successful in his major.
He said the reason he titled his presentation “Chase Buffalo” was that it’s all about risk-taking, and students will miss out if they don’t take advantage of their opportunities.
“My challenge would be: leave what’s comfortable and chase the buffalo,” Dotson said.
According to Dotson, students need to find their passions, and if they have to change their degrees, then change it. He said they also need to remember who they are and where they come from. Another step he outlined was to improve communication skills.
“If you don’t perfect your communication skills, things won’t happen,” he said.
Dotson ended the presentation urging students not to compromise for something less, and to “chase buffalo,” because there will be a time when they can’t chase buffalo anymore. He praised WSU for having opportunities that other universities didn’t have for him and how the faculty pushed him to become who he is today.
“Get out of Utah,” Dotson ended.
Kim Purcell isn’t a student, but she came to the lecture because she heard about it and wanted to learn more about risk-taking.
“Not chasing a job, (but) chasing what you love will make you a better person in the end; that’s what stood out to me the most in the lecture,” Purcell said.
The lecture series will continue every Thursday from 12-1 p.m. in the Smith Lecture Hall.