Foundation to My Success: Video Transcript

Bill Fausey (BA Geology, Miami, 1973) [retired from Owens Corning's Science and Technology Center]: As a farm boy from northwestern Ohio, who had never been in a building taller than three stories prior to coming to Miami, it was quite a change of pace. Those four years laid a foundation that I truly believe was the foundation that led to my personal career success.

Prior to Miami, I had never ever had an Earth science course. In looking at Miami's catalogue, I thought, "Gee, geology sounds pretty interesting to me." And it was love at first sight. I was very pleased I made that decision. I also think it shows that you don't have to have a background or your mind made up before you come to undergraduate school. That's what those years are for—to do a little exploration. I chose to explore geology, and it ended up being my life's work.

One of the things that is inherent to being a geology major is you have the opportunity to go places, to see things. Miami has an absolutely wonderful tradition of having its students see the world in various and sundry ways, from summer programs, to perhaps being a student overseas in Luxembourg. So I would really encourage everyone to take advantage of that if at all possible.

A liberal arts education is very valuable because oftentimes we think that we'll only interact with individuals who have the same interests that we do, other geologists for example. But in business or in the world, you're going to interact with many people who have interests other than your specific expertise, and a liberal arts education and the breadth that you can get from Miami prepares you to have discussions with those individuals at a level that is meaningful to them, and that's outside of your personal expertise.

All of us want to be adequately prepared in our chosen majors, and I know we have a curriculum that makes that happen. But these four years are an opportunity to be educated in areas outside of that particular major. I know in my case, in the day we were required to take a fine arts series, and so one year I had an introductory course in music, architecture, and art, which I have called upon many times throughout my career. I would also encourage people to take very seriously learning at least one, if not two, additional languages, and those languages can be very, very important to your career as you go forward. So, for me, the liberal arts aspect of Miami was a marvelous complement to the actual in-depth training that I received as a geology major.

My years at Miami are ones that I share with people constantly. And you only share things constantly if they left a positive impression, and it's something that is so embedded in your memories that you need to share that. I have a feeling that I have that need, I have followed up on that, and I hope that it has helped some students find their way to Miami, because I know Miami would be a great place for anyone to get an undergraduate education.

[October 2014]