Skip Navigation

← Back to the News

BSU Business Student Gives Keynote

Oct 23, 2012

Bemidji State University Business major Brian Leonhardt gave a keynote speech to an audience of 4oo BSU alumni and friends of the university at the annual homecoming black tie gala. Brian was honored with this opportunity for being a standout student in the classroom and in extracurricular activities on campus and in the community. Following are excerpts of his delivery.

It has been four years for me now at Bemidji State University. It feels like a lifetime. If you told me four years ago that I would be standing here today giving this speech, I would have laughed. But BSU has made me grow from the freshman I was on day one, undecided about a major, to the person I am now, ready to graduate, knowing where I want to be in life and with friends that will be there with me along the way.

Fast-forward to today and you would not recognize me as the same person I was then. Bemidji State University forced me to grow, and I strongly believe that growth is directly attributed to the faculty and the people around me. I wouldn`t be the person I am today if it wasn`t for Bemidji State.

I`m from Blaine, Minnesota, and came to Bemidji for the Northwood`s feel, attend college and to just get away from the big city. Living in Bemidji is sometimes like going to college at the cabin. I have the pleasure of being able to live on a lake, come home from classes and choose to fish, jet ski or swim. How many other colleges can offer you that?

Now, I know I will graduate in December with a Bachelor of Science degree, and a major in Business Administration with emphases in Management and Marketing. This will provide many possibilities and opportunities. However, for the longest time, I did not know what I wanted to do. Then in an upper-level personal selling course, we had the opportunity to have a professional from industry (and BSU alum) speak in our class. I`ll never forget what he said about motivation, money, job title and competition. I then knew I wanted to compete and am highly motivated to succeed in a personal selling career.

I`ve had success in the classroom and on the field, and that`s the way it should be. I take academics very seriously. I don`t see a difference between success on the field and success in the classroom. I view them as one in the same.

While completing a summer internship with Sanford Health, I had the opportunity to meet their President and CEO. He informed me that I was given this opportunity because he believed in my ability to help the community in the future. Standing here today, I want to be the person who comes back to BSU to talk to the students. I want to be the person who motivates the students to realize what they are here for and what they want to do after college. For everything BSU, I thank you. Know that you do so much more than you are aware. There are countless times I have learned from speakers who come back and volunteer, and faculty who take time to teach and guide students for the rest of their lives. Thank you.