CCOB grad students, Colangelo meet
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
The Colangelo-ization of the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University continues in earnest, and earnest is the operative word here.
Jerry Colangelo, the Phoenix icon whose name, expertise and integrity have been injected wholly into the college, spoke to a group of CCOB students Thursday night for about the 10th time in the past two weeks. Just as Colangelo said he would be, he is active and involved in the school’s doings.
But the significance of this gathering went beyond Colangelo’s various messages, which center on having a strong faith, working hard and taking calculated risks, because this was the first time he spoke to the college’s graduate students. Before the college was named for him in September, Colangelo had been affiliated only with the Colangelo School of Sports Business, which does not yet have a graduate program.
Judging from Thursday’s question-and-answer session, the response was tremendous. Colangelo spoke for about 20 minutes, and the questions kept coming for twice as long — and could have gone on much longer. The questions were good. Colangelo’s answers were even better.
“The students genuinely enjoyed that,” said Dr. Brian Smith, director of the sports business school. “It’s clear that he cares, and I think students are realizing that, wow, this is way more than just a name on the building.
“Our sports business students have had exposure to him, and I think everyone else is starting to see that he’s very hands on, he’s encouraging, he’s positive, he’s helpful, he’s able to have a story pretty much about every situation that they can encounter. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m very thankful that he’s taking the time to be hands-on like this.”
Thursday’s session was supposed to last only a half-hour. Fat chance, once Colangelo got going. He’s a storyteller, and he was more than willing to tell more than a few.
“You can tell, he’s up there because he enjoys it,” Smith said. “He very clearly enjoys speaking and giving back to students and answering questions.”
One of those students Thursday was Joel Ortiz who, like Colangelo, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago before migrating to Phoenix.
“Excellent speech,” Ortiz said. “I like the fact that he came from a humble background. I really appreciated that he talked about humble beginnings and said to stay hungry and work for success. It was a blessing to hear him speak and to see how humble he is and how thankful he is and how he puts his family first.”
Every Colangelo talk is filled with a steady dose of inspiration, wisdom and encouragement, and this was no exception: “The world really is yours for the asking if that’s what you want. … I’m never satisfied with where I am in terms of knowledge. … Each one of you has to find your own road and then take that journey.”
It was telling that most of the questions afterward were about those messages, not sports. One of the best was asked by Kelly Taylor, a Phoenix native who wondered where the virtue of patience fits in the grand scheme of things.
“Patience is something I struggle with on a daily basis — when to be patient and when not to be patient and to go get it. And I think that over 50 years of experience there’s got to be points where he really had to be patient,” Taylor said.
Colangelo counseled the students to learn when to be patient and when to recognize that it’s time to act.
“Opportunity walks by and many people miss it,” he said.
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or [email protected]