GE CEO to kickoff ‘Festival of Ideas’ tonight
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 07:09
Tonight, the CEO of one of America’s largest and most successful companies will bring his global perspective on success and leadership to Morgantown to kick-off the 2012-13 David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas.
Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, will address the public with his lecture "Globalization and the Lessons of Leadership" at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is free and open to the public, and parking is available in Lot 45 outside the Creative Arts Center.
Christine O’ Brien, a senior chemical engineering major from Cherry Hill, N.J., noted that Immelt’s presence on campus will help her gain some knowledge that can’t be attained in the classroom.
"I think it’s awesome that a CEO from such a high profile company is coming here," she said. "It’s one thing for a professor to tell you how to succeed, but he is on a different level."
General Electric, headquartered in Fairfield, Ct., is the sixth largest company in the United States in terms of revenue and generated more than $14 billion in profits last year.
O’Brien said her familiarity with the company is derived from her family’s use of GE products and the fact that it is such a recognizable symbol in American culture.
"My family’s appliances are GE, (and) they like that it is an American company," she said. "It’s a company that never stops trying to innovate."
Zach West, a junior
mechanical engineering student from Scott Depot, W.Va., sees Immelt as an
executive who has achieved great success, and he pointed to GE as an ideal employer for when he enters the job market.
"It’s great to see someone of such caliber coming to speak at the Festival of Ideas," he said.
"GE employs all different types of the brightest engineers, so that’s certainly an exciting opportunity for those – including myself – in the engineering field. I was actually looking into the possibility of starting a career there after college; they are a company I really respect."
Immelt, who is the company’s ninth chairman, has been with GE since 1982 and assumed his role as chairman and CEO on September 7, 2001.
In January 2011, President Barack Obama named Immelt chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a group of business executives, academics and other leaders that consults the President on the economy.
Immelt has been named one of the "World’s Best CEOs" three times by Barron’s.
GE, which was founded in 1892, has been named one of "The World’s Most Respected Companies" in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times.
Immelt graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with a degree in applied mathematics and later went on to Harvard University, where he earned a Master of Business Administration in 1982.
The Festival of Ideas lecture series began in 1995 as the brainchild of former West Virginia University president David C. Hardesty Jr. Leaders in the arenas of sports, politics, business, academia and more provide a series of lectures free to the public throughout the year on West Virginia’s campus.
Tonight’s event will be broadcast live online at webcast.wvu.edu.