I’m not a big fan of the Huffington Post, but a slideshow on the top ten college entrepreneurs caught my eye. Normally I avoid slideshows, but number nine in the presentation caught my eye. I had not heard of Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, before, but his story is worth reading about:
Perhaps the most legendary college paper ever was authored by Frederick W. Smith. As an undergraduate at Yale, he wrote a paper outlining a delivery system that would work in a computer-dominated industry. Specifically, Smith postulated that “as society automated, as people began to put computers in banks to cancel checks–rather than clerks–or people began to put sophisticated electronics in airplanes–society and the manufacturers of the automated society were going to need a completely different logistics system” According to folklore, Smith received a C on the paper. But this didn’t dissuade him. After graduating from Yale with a degree in economics, his idea became a reality when, after buying the controlling interest in an aircraft maintenance company, Smith used his $4 million inheritance to found Federal Express. In 1973, the company started offering service to 25 cities, and the mailing service we know and trust today took off. Thirty-eight years later, Smith has received dozens of honors, including 2006 Person of the Year by the French-American Chamber of Commerce and CHIEF EXECUTIVE magazine’s 2004 “CEO of the Year.”, and, as of March 2011, he has an estimated net worth of about $2.1 billion.
College, as we have discussed earlier in light of Alex Chediak’s helpful book, need not be a period of life characterized by laziness, boredom, time-wasting, and anemia of the spirit. There are few environments more potentially stimulating than a college, which is after all little more than one big salon (in the Enlightenment sense, not the hair-styling sense) where big ideas are discussed, creativity can flourish, and connections to other bright minds abound.
As a college professor, I’m excited by the testimonies provided by this HuffPo slideshow. Boyce College students, what do you think–how can you unleash your sense of gospel entrepreneurship, of working creatively and ambitiously for God’s glory? Missions, music, preaching, literature, theology–how can you plug in and make the most of your time in college?