Citing the rapid changes in the telecommunications industry, Sprint chairman and chief executive officer Gary D. Forsee urged the University of Missouri-Rolla’s class of 2005 to change the world by embracing change.
"I look at communications, the industry that I work in, and the rate of innovation and invention is staggering," said Forsee, who delivered the commencement address at UMR on Saturday (May 14, 2005).
"Just 20 years ago, telephones were stuck to walls, facts were found only in books and people had to make a trip to the record store if they wanted to buy the latest music," said Forsee, a 33-year veteran of the telecommunications industry and a 1972 civil engineering graduate of UMR. "Now, access to all of that and more is found by just reaching into your pockets and checking your wireless phone."
Forsee, chairman and CEO of Sprint since May 2003, spoke to some 700 new graduates during UMR’s commencement ceremony. The ceremony was held Saturday (May 14, 2005) in UMR’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building.
Reflecting on his telecommunications career, Forsee noted that "wireless phones were the size of a size-12 shoe in 1990 and were handy only for making phone calls, and very expensive phone calls at that."
Today, however, consumers in Japan use cell phones to "handle four-way video conferencing, download cash into the phone and then swipe it over the scanner at the local mini-mart to pay for groceries, or myriad other transactions."
Forsee told graduates to hold fast to their personal values even while welcoming changes in their lives and careers.
"Whatever technology advances and personal changes that take place during your life, it is important to stay grounded with your values," he said.
"Life is unpredictable and change is inevitable," Forsee added. "Those who embrace it, and contribute to it, will be the most successful."