Students get advice to calibrate ‘moral compass’

November 03, 2017 / by / 1 Comment

The final event of Money Week was a panel discussion featuring (from left) Jerry Colangelo, Jude LaCava, Orin Anderson and Mel Shultz. (Photo by Gillian Rea)

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

Colangelo College of Business students at Grand Canyon University get a lot more than instruction about business.

They also get expert advice about handling their business in a way that betters the world and pleases God.

There were two more examples Thursday afternoon on the final day of Money Week, which is designed to cover every facet of money issues but goes way beyond the basics. These sessions, unlike others, weren’t about making a budget or buying a house; these were about how to live your life.

Colangelo told the students to keep an eye on their moral compass when doing business. (Photo by Gillian Rea)

The first was a talk by CCOB instructor Jon Ruybalid called “Daily Bread Is Your Jam.” Catchy title, right? But the things Ruybalid was saying were anything but trendy in today’s world.

“Your goal should not be to get an A in this class,” he told the students. “You should maximize your abilities for God – hyper-competence is your goal.”

Three hours later, master’s students got to hear a panel discussion featuring Phoenix business icon Jerry Colangelo, his longtime business partner Mel Shultz, and his former Director of Ticket Sales with the Phoenix Suns, Orin Anderson.

In between stories about some of the situations they have encountered while working together, Colangelo told the students that, while they should strive to be the best at whatever they’re doing, they also should swerve away from doing anything that doesn’t feel morally right.

“Everyone has a moral compass,” he said.

Shultz added, “Work as hard at being fair as you do at doing the deal.”

Colangelo said he recently read “Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence” and learned that “the principles we follow today are the same principles they followed back then.”

Fox10 sports anchor Jude LaCava, who was moderating the discussion for both the audience and a live cut-in on the 6 p.m. news, brought up the time that Danny Manning suffered a serious knee injury in the Suns’ training camp, and the first thing Colangelo said was that he would honor Manning’s contract.

Shultz urged students to “work as hard at being fair as you do at doing the deal.” (Photo by Gillian Rea)

Anderson said that sort of thinking was typical of how the Suns did business in those days, and it started at the top with Colangelo. Anderson learned early on in his Suns tenure that there is no substitute for preparing, and to this day he tells his children, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”

“When you find something that you’re passionate about, prepare,” he said.

Colangelo’s closing words of wisdom included several of his favorites – “Go to someone you can learn from,” “It gets down to ‘How much do you want it?’” and “You win some, you lose some – just try to win more than you lose.”

But the most important thing he said:

“It starts with faith.”

Faith and how to act on it when it comes to money was the focus of Ruybalid’s talk. To give students a spiritual perspective about making money, he quoted from a series of Bible verses, including:

    • Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
    • 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12: “… and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
    • Deuteronomy 8:16-18: “He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of My hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
    • Proverbs 30:7-9:
      “Two things I ask of you, Lord;
      do not refuse me before I die:
      Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
      give me neither poverty nor riches,
      but give me only my daily bread.
      Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
      and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
      Or I may become poor and steal,
      and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Jon Ruybalid

Ruybalid told the students of how he and his wife budget their money. This is a man who has sold a business to Google – he could live extravagantly. But that is not his life choice. They instead spend only as much as necessary, buying just the basics.

“We always ask, ‘What’s our daily bread?’” he said. “I don’t want to have too much and disown God, and I don’t want to have too little and dishonor Him.”

He left the students with this:

“You want an intentional purpose for your life? Don’t make it about stuff. Make it about deeds.”

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or

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One Response
  1. Jazmin

    This topic is so important to me especially as a business major. What Ruybalid said is very important. If someone really does want to pursue a life of purpose, they cannot make it about stuff. Yes, “stuff” might add a bit of value to your life but not a purpose. Purpose is completely independent of money or materialistic things.

    Nov.03.2017 at 4:15 pm
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