ESPN Founder and DePauw alumnus featured as Ubben Lecturer

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Bill Rasmussen rings the Monon Bell at his Ubben Lecture PHOTO BY ALEXA JENKINS
Bill Rasmussen rings the Monon Bell at his Ubben Lecture PHOTO BY ALEXA JENKINS / THE DEPAUW

Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN, began his Ubben Lecture with an important question pertaining to the Monon Bell game. “And the bell is staying here. Am I right?”

Rasmussen's question was answered with excited applause from the audience, most of which were DePauw students.

As a 1954 graduate of DePauw, Rasmussen expressed his gratitude for all of the opportunities that DePauw provided for him.

During his time at DePauw, Rasmussen was determined to be involved on campus and learn as much as he possibly could. “One thing I learned at DePauw is that you can learn as much or as little as you want… I wanted to learn everything about everything,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen alluded to Dr. Seuss while commending DePauw during the lecture by saying, “You will remember your days at DePauw and if you remember them and put them into your brains then, oh, the places you’ll go.”

One’s ability to always create new ideas was another point that Rasmussen emphasized during his lecture. As students pondered their ability to create new ideas in an age of progressiveness and technology, Rasmussen had the perfect answer. “Never think that all of the ideas have been taken, it isn’t so.”

Rasmussen went on to discuss how although he asked many questions during his time at DePauw, his curiosity was always welcomed and his questions were always answered. “Always Be Curious! Never Be Complacent!” is a slogan that Rasmussen lives by.

Further, the ESPN founder emphasized that there were bumps on the road to creating this billion dollar industry, but that, “You can’t be discouraged by the first ‘no.’”

Despite his status, students appreciated Rasmussen for visiting DePauw and appreciated his humble character. “For someone who is so successful and worth so much money, Bill was incredibly down to earth and he had some great stories to tell,”  Margot Leiner, sophomore, said, “and I wish I could have listened to his tell his life story for hours and hours.”

For Rasmussen, sports serve as the “only true reality television” as well as a symbol of motivation. “I think teams can motivate each other not only for the game they are playing but in life.”

Rasmussen showed his astonishment for the power of broadcasting when he said, “In this room, just the number of people here we could create thousands of years of video by just streaming.”

Students, such as junior RJ Klinke, were very grateful for the opportunity to hear Rasmussen speak. “It’s always great to see an alumnus from DePauw come back and speak, especially someone who has been so successful in revolutionizing a field such as broadcast for sports,” Klinke said.

Other students also had positive reactions to Rasmussen’s lecture.“If there’s any way he could adopt me that would be lovely, it was a great lecture,” Julia Michaels, sophomore, said.

Rasmussen ended his lecture on an empowering note, encouraging students to step out of their comfort zones. “It’s not easy to go into unchartered waters,” Rasmussen said, “but it’s not impossible.”