Derrick Hall ’91 B.S.

(Editor’s note: Derrick Hall, president/CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is being honored with the Alumni Achievement Award at the 2016 Founders’ Day celebration on Feb. 3.)

Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?

I was involved with several extracurricular activities, as I thought it was best for me to be as well rounded as possible. I was a Devil’s Advocate, a member of student government, heavily involved in the Greek system, volunteered with ASU athletics, played intramural sports, worked for game operations for Sun Devil and Cardinals games, was a member of Homecoming court, and held leadership roles for the College of Public Programs, to name a few. ASU provided the perfect opportunity for me to interact with many diverse students from different interest groups and facets of life. It was an accurate microcosm of the real world around us.  

How did your education at ASU prepare you for your current job or business?

ASU allowed me to gain experience in my areas of interest. My broadcasting experiences at the collegiate level allowed me to seamlessly transition into on-air talent roles later in my career, in the number-two media market in the nation. And my student leadership roles, as well as my involvement in athletics, helped me formulate my desired professional sports path that I would eventually take. Additionally, I was able to take part in countless philanthropic endeavors supported by the university, shaping my values at the right age and teaching me the critical responsibility of making an impact on the surrounding community.  

How did ASU help you succeed in life?

ASU educated me and set me straight when it came to career and life priorities. It showed me the importance of acceptance, inclusion and diversity, and displayed firsthand how a large geographical map and student population could be shrunk and personalized. I stepped foot on campus as a freshman with training wheels. The institution forced me to rid myself of those wheels immediately to take the full plunge into an educational experience. I learned how to value different opinions, deal with adversity, overcome rejection and make friends for life.  

What advice would you have for today’s students?

Students need to pursue their dreams – not those of their parents, friends, professors or counselors. We always say that if you are doing what you truly love, you will never work a day in your life. In order to do so, they must shoot for the moon and block all external deterrence.

We often hear that goals and dreams must be attainable and realistic. While this is universally believed and accepted, how will we ever achieve what we truly aspire for without taking risks and chances, while staying focused and believing in ourselves more than anyone else does?

I would also stress the importance of using the ever-increasing and powerful ASU alumni network to open doors. Once those doors are opened, take giant leaps forward and make the best of all situations and make an impact.

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