Jim Ferrell’s Infectious Curiosity

JimFerrellJim Ferrell has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ferrellgas – grown from a private company to the United States’ second-largest propane retailer – since 1965, when he took over the business from his father, who had founded the company. He spoke to the Gregorian Fellows about leadership and curiosity in education. Here are our top quotes from Ferrell’s talk:

1.  “If you can’t think, you’re hopeless.”

2.  “Donald Trump is the best self-promoter since [Bernie] Madoff.”

3.  “It takes 2.1 children to grow your numbers. Here, coming out of Elizabeth Hall, people say they’re one of six, one of eight. This is unusual in the world. In Italy, which may be thought to be the most Catholic country in Europe, has 1.5. The Muslims? Eight.”

4.  “Churchill had a great saying: America always does the right thing. After it’s tried everything else.”

5.  “America is the only country founded on an idea.”

6.  “Being American means you have responsibilities. It does not mean you can do whatever you want.”

7.  “Are we at war with ISIS? With ISIL? I think we are. They think we are.”

8.  Necessary values:

  • Don’t worry about what you can’t change, but change what you can.
  • Honor
  • The Golden Rule
  • Self-reliance
  • Making the world better for your children
  • Respecting your ancestors
  • Country
  • Building a reputation that can be admired
  • Build something that lasts
  • Be curious

9.  “What education should be about is whetting your appetite.”

The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).

Eileen Wittig