My name is Austin and I'm a member of the DeVos Class of 2011. I am originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky and I went to the University of Kentucky where I played football. I am currently a graduate assistant for the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. My first year of graduate school has been one full of new experiences that have allowed me to meet a number of interesting and inspirational people.
Last Friday I got to spend time with one of the most interesting and inspirational men I have ever met in my life, Mr. Rich DeVos. Mr. DeVos embodies all the qualities that one seeks in a role model. Faithfulness, humility, intelligence, character, integrity, and honesty are just a few of the many adjectives that could be use to describe him. On April 23, 2010, the DeVos Class of 2011 got to meet and honor Mr. DeVos with a very special luncheon at the Black and Gold Lounge of the UCF Arena. Prior to entering this program I only had a surface level understanding of its’ namesake. However, after having a luncheon with Mr. DeVos, I can say that I have a much higher level of knowledge, appreciation, and admiration for a man who has done many great things to better the world in his lifetime.
In our time together Mr. DeVos shared personal stories and key moments in his life that brought success, disappointment, and lifelong lessons. He was a man raised from humble beginnings with a dream accompanied by great passion that has allowed him to earn the achievements that he has today. Mr. DeVos’s success has not only come from the creation and evolution of Amway Corporation. He has also been able to impact many lives through his philanthropic efforts and devotion to serving the community. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans in 2005, Mr. DeVos flew the entire Hornets staff to Orlando, provided shelter, and personally paid their salaries until they were able to move back. The average billionaire, and for that matter, not even the average man would do something as selfless as this. This just goes to show the special type of human being that Mr. DeVos is and the commitment that resides deep within to give back to the community and help others. Words do not explain how encouraging it is to witness someone that has built a multi-billion dollar empire upon a foundation of integrity and ethics, serve their community with love and commitment, and lived life not to please others, but to please God. After completing one full academic year in the DeVos program, I can say that meeting Mr. Rich DeVos has been my best experience thus far and a moment of my life that I will cherish forever.
Have a great weekend,