Spence to deliver keynote address at Men's and Women's Academic Awards presentation
April 17, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- Roy Spence will give his version of a locker room speech on Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
Spence, a Texas graduate and mastermind behind GSD&M Idea City, isn't completely unfamiliar with the setting. He addressed the Football team before the Longhorns defeated Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl last fall. But Monday will be a little different -- and the crowd a little bigger.
Spence is the keynote speaker at the Men's and Women's Academic Awards presentation. To attend, student-athletes must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
So why is Spence the one who will be addressing them?
"Well," he said, "that's a good question."
In truth, Spence has a unique perspective to lend. He cut his teeth at The University a few decades ago, and coined "We're Texas," the infamous tagline that exuded UT's proud but simple swagger. And he and his company have become the voice behind Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart and BMW, among other brands.
"Roy is a driving force," UT President Bill Powers said. "He is a man whose energy, enthusiasm, intellectual ability and creative mind have helped set the standard for principled and imaginative leadership."
Spence recently penned, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For," a book that promotes purpose over profit.
"That lesson of purpose is what sports teaches people," Spence said. "We're all in this together. If we're consistently good together, we'll be great. And if we're not, we won't be.
"The best way to build things on purpose is to figure out how you can fit in, and work together with other people. There's no better thing than sports to teach you self-discipline, competiveness and, oh by the way, we're all in this together."
But, of course, there has to be substance behind the words -- a culture that lives up to the promise.
Which makes Monday's setting all the more compelling. Spence will deliver a speech on purpose at an institution that embodies the ideal.
"The culture that is imbedded in UT Athletics is of integrity, teamwork and humility," Spence said. "And that has to start at the top, so that when young people come in, they realize it's not a slogan. They realize that at UT, this is how we live our lives."