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(Editor’s Note: Alumnus Jack Furst will receive the Philanthropist of the Year Award at the Alumni Association’s Founders’ Day celebration on March 16.)
Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?
I was a member of the vibrant Greek system from the fall of 1977 until the spring of 1981. I resided at the Theta Delta Chi house. I participated in intramural athletics and held several leadership positions in the fraternity, including treasurer and president. I also was treasurer of the Inter-Fraternity Council and a Devil’s Advocate.
Those activities provided me with lifelong friends and taught me the value of teamwork. People and relationships make the world go ‘round; it’s not about you, it’s about the person next to you. My extracurricular activities at ASU assisted in the development of my communication, problem-solving and leadership skills – three prerequisites for success.
How did your education at ASU prepare you for your current job or business?
The lessons learned at ASU helped me in my pursuit of a career in finance. I entered ASU as a teenager with the simple goal of trying to figure it out. I left as a young man with social and technical skills that served me well as I began my career. My time at ASU gave me the confidence to deal with what I did not know – and to simply figure it out.
How did ASU help you achieve your dream?
ASU assisted in the development of my people skills: specifically, salesmanship (the art of making a case for your position on the matter) and problem resolution (the art of finding a solution). ASU was a great practice field. It gave me some of the confidence required to pursue a career as a deal-maker in the world of finance. Professionally, I wanted to learn how to achieve capital formation around a commercial idea. Ultimately, I wanted to become a distinguished investor and contribute to ideas and people working as a team to build companies worthy of investment. Without a doubt, ASU helped me achieve my dream. Investing is an art, not a science.
What current development at ASU do you find most exciting?
The reinvention of Sun Devil Stadium is my favorite project at ASU. It’s natural for the most innovative university in the country to convert its most iconic structure and strategically located football stadium with a two percent utilization rate into a heavily utilized university asset.
The renovation of the stadium is two-thirds complete, and when finished, the conversion from a standard stadium into a multi-purposed/mixed-use facility will transform ASU's most recognizable physical asset on campus into its largest relational asset. The stadium will have the potential to connect students, faculty, administrators, alums, patrons, donors, residents of Tempe and surrounding Arizona cities to the spirit of the Sun Devil Nation 365 days a year. The project is relational, smart, strategic, sustainable and stakeholder-oriented as well as innovative!
What advice would you have for today’s students?
I would tell them the following: