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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > Executive of the Year 2002 coverage

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

Executive of the Year 2002 Media Coverage

March 21, 2002

Used with Permission of the Arizona Daily Star

Qwest's Anschutz honored
UA's Executive of Year stresses perseverance

By Alan D. Fischer

Philip F. Anschutz learned the importance of perseverance while trying his hand at 13 different careers on his way to becoming a billionaire.

"You have to stick to it - that's the No. 1 thing," said Anschutz, who was honored Wednesday as The University of Arizona's 2002 Executive of the Year. "If you can't persevere, you are out of luck."

Anschutz's first endeavor - a Kool-Aid stand mounted on roller skates that was designed to serve thirsty students at a local school - ended after the then-fourth-grader and his refreshment stand were thrown off campus. It was not the last time one of his business ideas failed, but he stuck to it and rose to become director and chairman of the board of Qwest Communications International Inc. and The Anschutz Corp. He also serves as director and vice chairman of Union Pacific Corp.

His remarks at a luncheon at the Westin La Paloma Resort were directed primarily at the 100 UA students in the audience of about 400. He offered suggestions, often humorous, on how to succeed in life, a prerequisite for business success.

His "observations for success" included:

* Don't be afraid to fail.

* Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do in life. The most interesting and successful people he knows didn't know what they wanted to do at age 25, and most were not doing at 45 what they are doing now.

* Think - most people don't.

* When in doubt, take action.

* Do things that scare you a little.

* Hang out with smart people. When you hang out with smart people, you're going to get smarter yourself.

* Do the right thing.

* Give back to the community.

* Find adversity in life. Overcoming adversity makes you a better person.

* Exercise to create high self-energy. Go jogging rather than taking a nap.

* Understand that friends come and go, but enemies linger forever.

* Make a plan. Develop a one-, five- and 20-year plan. If he had a 20-year plan ready when he graduated from college, he would not have had 13 different careers.

John Legner, a UA finance and marketing student, said the most important lesson he learned from Wednesday's presentation was stick-to-itiveness. "You need to go after it as hard as you can," he said.

He said he appreciated Anschutz's casual, humorous demeanor, and said he seemed like a real normal guy for a billionaire.

Allison Jones, a UA accounting student, said Anschutz was more down to earth than she expected. She said his advice on overcoming fear of failure was the best part of the presentation.

Anschutz was chosen as the UA's top executive because of his position as a national leader who excels in private enterprise and public service, said Martha Taylor Thomas, chair of the National Board of Advisors for the UA Eller College of Business and Public Administration. "He reflects what we value at the Eller College - compassion, integrity and humor," she said.

Anschutz has succeeded at business and in civic work while avoiding the public spotlight, said Mark Zupan, dean of the Eller College. "He is the least-well-known multibillionaire in the country - by design," Zupan said.

During a question-and-answer session, Anschutz said the telecom industry, including Qwest, is in a down cycle.

He said too much capacity, high capital demands, and shrinking prices and profit margins mean that consolidation is needed to return the industry to robust health.

"I think there will be three or possibly four major telecom providers in this country in the next three to five years," he said.

And Anschutz, who owns five professional soccer teams, said he is committed to supporting the U.S. professional league despite ongoing financial difficulties.

"We've had a hard time getting soccer started in this country, and I can't understand why," he said. "It ought to be more popular."

* Contact Star Business reporter Alan D. Fischer at 573-4175 or at

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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