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Bogle Visits Campus, Offers Advice on Life After College
Jack Bogle, founder and retired chief executive officer of The Vanguard Group, meets with faculty members and students at a reception in the Hard Living Room in the Particia E. Harris Center for Business, Government & Public Policy prior to his evening talk.
It is tradition for Franklin & Marshall students in the Life After College Program (LACP) to share the most important thing they learned following the remarks of guest speakers in the program. So, on Tuesday night, dozens of students shared their thoughts—one by one—at the conclusion of the LACP event in the Bonchek College House Great Room.
“Keep your youthful idealism.”
“Don’t think about your career as everything.”
“Think about the joy of being alive.”
The students were repeating words spoken by John “Jack” Bogle, founder and retired chief executive officer of The Vanguard Group. Bogle visited Franklin & Marshall College on Tuesday as a guest speaker in LACP, a program organized by Career Services to give promising students a head start on developing their post-college goals. Bogle’s grandson, Andrew Renninger ’12, is a junior at F&M.
Bogle has been a leader in the financial industry for more than half a century. In 1974, he created Vanguard, one of the two largest mutual-fund organizations in the world. The following year he founded the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, the first index mutual fund. He was named one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people by Time magazine in 2004.
Bogle was introduced by Ed Satell P’09, chief executive officer of Progressive Business Publications and founder of the LACP. Satell praised Bogle as a man of honesty, integrity and efficiency. “He’s shown that good guys can win, and honest guys can win,” Satell said.
During his talk, Bogle told his own life-after-college story in an engaging and humorous manner. After graduating from Princeton with honors, he landed a job at the Wellington Fund in 1951. From there, he embarked on a highly successful career while keeping in mind several key principles, which he shared with the F&M students. “Live up to your standards,” he said. “Emulate the character and values of others, but keep your own personality.”
Bogle encouraged students not to think about becoming a vice president of a company, but simply to focus on the next 24 hours.
“When Vanguard crewmembers asked me if I had a secret, it was simple,” he said. “Rule No. 1. Get out of bed. When you go through the day, be a decent human being. Teach, learn, and be a family person. Be nice, and help people. If you pass a window washer, say, ‘I’ve never seen that window look so beautiful.’”
Rule No. 2, Bogle said, was to repeat rule No. 1.
Bogle’s talk resonated with students, including Lorenzo Daughtry-Chambers ’11, who felt a connection to Bogle’s approach to life. “I really enjoyed it,” Daughtry-Chambers says. “I appreciate the example he’s set. It’s important to remember that we should emulate the values in other people, but not their personalities.”
Tammy Halstead, interim director of Career Services, was happy to see Bogle discuss the liberal arts throughout his talk, including his reading of the Odyssey. “There is a tendency for us to see people in the business world as not connected to the liberal arts, and he knocked that down,” Halstead says. “He was so charismatic, he tried to connect with each individual student.”
Aside from bringing renowned guest speakers to campus, the LACP is helping students prepare in numerous ways for life after F&M. Justin Brown ’11, who attended Tuesday’s talk, has already benefitted from the program. “The program has given me solid skills and helped me get an internship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory,” he says.
To read more about the LACP, see previous coverage in The Diplomat. The next speaker in the LACP will be Paula Dow ’77, Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, on Tuesday, March 1.