Friday, November 15, 2013

Dan Rather

Everyone outside the Finucane Center
This Monday was the second annual Leadership Series event for Rockhurst University.  This year, Rockhurst invited legendary journalist Dan Rather to speak to students in a Q&A session and had a luncheon at the downtown Marriot for various community members, staff & faculty from Rockhurst, and some students to attend.   Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be able to attend both the Q&A session and the luncheon!  I was incredibly impressed by how personable Dan Rather was both while talking to our students and while talking to the large group.  While at times speakers held at arms-length can be very difficult to relate to, I overheard one student saying, "I just wanted to ask him if he would be my grandpa!"

The students with Dan Rather at the Q&A
Monday morning, about 20 students gathered in the Finucane Center, along with several faculty and staff- Dan Rather arrived and allowed us to jump right in, asking questions from many different subjects, ranging from the main theme of leadership to reflecting on his experiences.  He had many different insights, that were really incredible to hear about.  His reflection on leadership was very insightful, including four different main points.  These were character, vision, communication, and decisiveness.  The most incredible part is that Mr Rather stated that every one of the leaders he interviewed exemplified these characteristics, and how they carried over into leadership positions for everyday situations also.

Next, we went to the luncheon at the downtown Marriott.  At this particular event, there were countless guests from around the Kansas City community.  I had the opportunity to sit with executives from UMB Bank, faculty and staff members, and two other students which proved for great conversation throughout the meal.  Dan Rather was yet again, very personable- taking a selfie with the student (a close peer) who introduced him and sharing stories about his marriage.  It was such an opportunity to see him speak to such a large, influential audience, and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to attend this event.  I only hope Rockhurst continues to provide these types of opportunities for students in the years to come!

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