Thursday I had the honor of addressing an audience of over 400 people who were there to hear Mayor Dyer give his State of the City address. I thought I would share my comments with all of you….
So you are probably asking yourself “Why is the Dean of the UCF College of Business the warm up act for Mayor Dyer?”
In the year I have been here, I have learned that more than any other University, UCF appreciates the importance of place. It understands that to become the destination of choice for people who have choices, it must leverage the unique qualities of Orlando to offer distinctive programs for students that will differentiate them in the marketplace. This is how UCF builds national prominence.
So as Dean of the Business School, I have a great interest in helping my city cultivate its unique elements and to partner with my fellow citizens to make things happen that will make us prosper.
And one of the things I want to help this city do is Slay the Beast. Let me explain. Every great metropolitan economy is anchored by a great business school that has thrown open its doors and invited in diverse groups of people from engineering, applied science and technology to collaborate, take risks and invent the future. Boston has MIT and Harvard. San Francisco has Stanford and Berkeley, Austin has the University of Texas. If you can’t Slay the Beast and integrate Business thinking with engineering, applied science and technology, too many scientific discoveries will fail to find markets and too many business ideas will fail to scale into significant enterprises. So we have to work together as Knights in places like the Creative Village to slay this BEAST and ensure that our community continues to move forward.
To achieve this goal, we first must get to know each other better. The college and the community must become intertwined. Last month at Dr. Hitt’s focus breakfast, I challenged our community leaders to “take the ball”, email one of our faculty members and start a conversation with them. More than forty people have already taken up my challenge and more conversations are taking place every day.
Starting tomorrow at the Citrus Club, and once a month thereafter, my colleagues are also taking up the challenge, getting out of their comfort zones and engaging the community with their most provocative ideas. They will present twenty-minute Ted-like talks that will engage you in dialogue. Our first talk is sold out, but information on our second talk, by Dr. Maureen Ambrose is at your table. Come out and see what our world class faculty have to say.
These faculty also stand ready to meet you and your needs at our executive development center on Pine Street. I have challenged its Director Dr. Robert Porter to make our downtown campus the cross-roads of town and gown–an engaging place where people can learn and exchange ideas with our thought-leaders while earning advanced degrees and contributing to their organization’s bottom line.
Let me conclude by noting that we have been honored to work with the Downtown Orlando Partnership on this event. I want to give special recognition to Bridget Downes and Tiffany Hughes from my external relations staff for working tirelessly to make today a success. They are wonderful ambassadors of our college and can help connect you with us in a variety of ways.
That’s it. It’s time for the main act. I for one, can’t wait to hear what Mayor Dyer has to say about his plans for downtown and look forward to partnering with him so that we can all become a destination of choice for people who have choices.