In his Dec. 18 commencement address at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Keith Bailey told new graduates to embrace change and progress.
“What I garner from the lessons of the past is this: The world you live in by the end of your career would be unfathomable to you today,” said Bailey, former chair, president and CEO of The Williams Companies, a global energy company in Tulsa, Okla.
Bailey, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Missouri S&T in 1964, admitted it might be easy to be discouraged about the future, based on headlines in the news. “But I believe there has not been a time in my life when the world has objectively been a more hopeful place,” he said. “The reason is that the opportunity to realize one’s dreams rests much more fully within your own control than at any time in our history.”
Bailey told graduates who plan to enter a technology-intensive field to expect to see 20 percent of their skills to become obsolete every 12-to-18 months. He told them to expect to be confronted and bombarded with exciting choices. “Jobs and careers that literally didn’t exist five years ago, today offer some of the greatest opportunities,” he said.
Bailey is currently non-executive chair of Cloud Peak Energy, the nation’s third-largest coal producer. He is also on the boards of Apco International Oil and Gas, Aegis, Markwest Energy Partners and Integrys Energy.
As a student, Bailey played varsity football and basketball for the Miners. He later completed the Harvard University program for management development. He is a member of S&T’s Athletic Hall of Fame, a former chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, and a member of S&T’s Order of the Golden Shillelagh donor society.