The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Ford speaks at Leadership Summit

Gerald J. Ford speaks at the President R. Gerald Turner Leadership Summit in Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening.
Michael Danser
Gerald J. Ford speaks at the President R. Gerald Turner Leadership Summit in Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening.

Gerald J. Ford speaks at the President R. Gerald Turner Leadership Summit in Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening. (Michael Danser)

There isn’t a formula for success, according to Board of Trustees member Gerald J. Ford, but he has noticed two processes that lead to success: defined goals and focused effort.

Ford spoke at President R. Gerald Turner’s Leadership Summit on Wednesday evening, discussing his journey to success, as well as the current economic crisis.

Ford, a banker, is the chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees, as well as a member of the Executive, Trusteeship, Real Estate and Investment committees of the Board. He is also the chairman of the board of the Diamond A Ford Corporation. A donation by Ford enabled SMU to build a new stadium, which was then named after him.

Ford graduated from SMU in 1966 and earned a law degree from the Dedman School of Law in 1969.

Turner praised Ford in his opening statements, noting that SMU frequently consults with Ford because he is knowledgeable in the financial world.

“Every board needs someone who’s a great resource,” Turner said.

Ford grew up in Pampa, Texas, and said he decided to be a lawyer at the age of 12 or 13. He came to SMU after seeing the movie “Giant,” noting that SMU had a good football team at the time and because his family went to a Methodist church. During his second year of law school, Ford said he realized that none of the jobs available to him sounded very interesting.

“I knew I didn’t want to practice law,” Ford said.

Eventually, Ford found his way into banking. In 2002, he sold Golden State Bancorp to Citigroup for $6 billion.

Ford began to make five-year plans when he was 25, where he would be specific about what he wanted to accomplish. In addition, Ford said hard work is needed.

“There is no substitute for hard work and smart work,” he said.

When discussing the current economic crisis, Ford described it as a mess that was caused by the brilliance and greed of Wall Street. He also pointed out lesser co-conspirators: borrowers and bankers.

He said the Obama administration is not as prepared to deal with the situation, but that it is finding its way.

Overall, Ford speculated that the recession would last a while, but said he has great optimism over the long term.

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