Haskins Giving Society Cocktail Reception
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 22:05
The NYU Stern Development and
Alumni Relations team extended a
special invitation to join them for the
first annual Haskins Giving Society Cocktail
Reception on Tuesday, April 3rd, at the
Bowery Hotel. This event celebrated and
recognized Stern’s Haskins Partners,
Haskins Fellows, and Young Haskins
Partner Associates, and the featured speaker
for the evening was Kenneth G. Langone
(MBA ‘60), who flew in just for this event.
Deans Peter Henry and Geeta Menon were
also in attendance along with over 100 alumni.
The Alumni and Development Office
staffed the event.
Kenneth G. Langone is one of the founders
of Home Depot, director of Yum! Brands, a
trustee of the New York University, active in
philanthropy, and involved in developing
NYU’s direction and alumni. His father was
a plumber and mother worked in a cafeteria,
and he was the first in his family to go to college.
When he went to Bucknell, his father
had him come home on weekends to learn
the plumbing trade.
Ken Langone’s 3 Steps for
A Kind Word – recognize the best in people
A Gesture – actions speak louder than words
Love what you are doing – the moment you
do not enjoy your job, quit
No necessary job is beneath you
When Ken Langone would visit Home
Depots with his partner they would pull up
in the parking lot and fan out. The executive
officers would each collect scattered
shopping carts from the lot and wheel them
up to the front of the store. They would
walk the isles and help customers where
necessary. No job was too small. In the
words of Langone, “Never ask someone to
do a job you aren’t willing to do yourself.”
Character Building in Queens
When Langone was earning his MBA
from NYU in the part-time program that
now bears his name, he would take classes
four nights a week down in at the Trinity
campus. The hot summers and cold winters
were especially salient within the halls
of NYU, which at the time, did not have
central air or air conditioning. After a day
of work and evening of class, his wife
would patiently be waiting at home to eat
dinner with him each night.
The trip home required taking a train uptown
and then across to Queens, followed by a connecting
bus costing 15 cents. On one particular
long day he discovered he had only 10
cents in his pocket, leaving him 5 cents short
for the last leg of his journey home. He ended
up walking several miles to get home in the
cold and wet weather. His wife was upset that
he had gotten home so late, but he did not tell
her about his walk. Instead he responded that
he managed to miss his favorite TV show! It
was hard work and determination that helped
him develop his current character.
On being successful
Langone recalls having been called many
things,some nice,some not so nice. The name
he bears most proudly is the title of Fat Cat.
He is proud of his successes and enduring the
challenges of rivals who had sought to bring
him down. Langone believes his success can
be attributed to a lifetime of learning experiences
cultivated from associations with other
people and institutions, and his hard work.He
also noted that success does not necessarily
come early. Not everyone will be wealthy by
their thirties, but he became wealthy in life.
As Langone sees it, the true measure of success
is your ability and willingness to give
back. The hardest check he had ever written
was the first $100 to his undergraduate alma
mater, Bucknell. Every year after that it got
easier and he was able to give more.
Fielding questions from the audience
1) Should all children go to college?
No; important to know a trade and be mindful
of the debt burden of education.
2) What’s your opinion on the rise of
China as a threat?
To the contrary, China’s economic success
is a good thing. Nobody goes to war living
the good life.
3) Future vision of Stern over the next
I’d like to see Dean Henry continue to do the
job he’s doing.
In his closing remarks,Langone believes that
America’s best days are still ahead of us. He
looked around the room and reflected on
how we each should give back as much as we
can, a little more each year when we are successful,
in order to help others get to where
we are now.