Keynote Speaker David Tepper - Commencement 2018
It. Is now my distinct, pleasure to. Introduce. Our, keynote speaker. Business. Leader. Investment. Icon. Philanthropist. Business. School alum. University. Trustee and. Carnegie. Mellon champion, David. Allen, pepper. Oh. I. Have several pages to read David. Through. His legendary. Business, savvy and, investment. Expertise. Davis. David, has earned an unrivaled. Reputation. As one of the most successful, hedge. Fund managers, in the world. But. He's equally, well known for, his passion. For. Philanthropy. His. Belief, in the power of higher education, and of. Course his. Exceptional. Service, and generosity to, his, alma mater, Carnegie. Mellon University. David. Grew up not too far from here in the. Stanton Heights neighborhood, of Pittsburgh, the. Middle of three children I should. Just add so, that David's. Mother Roberta. Is here with us would you please acknowledge, Roberta. He. Went to the University of Pittsburgh for, his undergraduate, degree in economics. Before. Receiving, his MBA in, 1982. From. Our graduate, school of industrial, administration. It. Wasn't called at upper school back there I know. In. 1985. He. Was recruited, by Goldman Sachs as a. Credit, analyst, and within just six, months he. Became the head trader under. Newly established, high-yield. Bond group. This. Was the first clue, that. David was a force. To be reckoned with on Wall, Street, in. 1993. The, same year the, web entered. The public domain, David. Established. Appaloosa, management and, over, the last 25, years has. Built an impressively. Consistent. Record of high returns. Appaloosa. Currently, has approximately 17. Billion under management and, has. Yielded gross, returns, close to 40 percent per year over, the past 20 years. Through. The. David Tepper, Charitable. Foundation his. Philanthropy, has expanded, opportunities. For education. Helped. To, fight hunger and homelessness and. Provided. Much-needed disaster. Relief. He. Has generously, donated a total of 125. Million to. Carnegie Mellon University. Including. Naming, and, endowing The Temper School of Business where. He serves as the school's Business. Board of Advisors. And in. 2013. His. Most recent, transformative. Gift. Enabled. The creation of his state of the art facility, on, the. New David a Tepper quadrangle. Scheduled. To open this, fall. At. At. More. Than 300, thousand square feet this. Building, will serve as the new home for the Tempur School of Business as well. As a major hub for. Collaboration. Innovation. Creativity. And. Entrepreneurship. At Carnegie Mellon The. Temper quad will create. Unprecedented. Opportunities. To. Break new barriers, and. To. Work toward new discoveries, new, technologies. New, businesses, and new, forms. Of expression as, our. Institution. Continues, to grow and build, for an evolving, future, the. Tempur quad is the physical, realization, of, a, new model for 21st century research, and education, and it. Will transform. The CMU experience. For, generations, of students to come. David. Has given so much to Carnegie, Mellon to. Our nation and the world and were. Delighted, to welcome him back to campus, to. Share his wisdom with. The class of 2018. Please. Join me in extending a warm welcome. To David a tapper David. Good. Morning, class. Of. 2018. And. I have a speech here, nice. Binder I think. I might read it later but I just a couple observations first, that I didn't think.
About Before. Back. Over there I was standing next to Kevin, he's. Right there and. We. Were talking his. Voice was shaking, my. Voice was shaking, we. Were both nervous, as heck, I was. Gonna say another word but I'm told I'm not supposed to say those words today. So. We're coming out and we're we're there and we're both, kind of like shaky, a little bit and, then. Kevin Kevin. Start straightening, up he. Starts getting the strength about it and. He says I'm. Starting to fill it these. Are my people, my. People. So. We say that he's put it out some friends over there we, said hottest family, over there his mother Lauren, who. Told me a couple stories about Kevin that I'm not gonna say now. Went. Up the aisle shaked. A few hands there set, a load of an wall high. N wall yeah, good to see you over there and. You. Know Kevin, just came up here and gave. The most, fantastic. Speech and, I'm thinking crap, I. Can't. Not be as good cuz I got something I got a reading it's twice as long and I can't just kind of ad-lib it. And. Then I was thinking well you know what. You. Guys, Kevin's. Family you. Guys out here students, please. All. You guys here you're. My people too, okay. You're. My people too, you're. Carnegie Mellon people, Carnegie. Mellon students, Carnegie. Mellon graduates, my. People. So. Help. Me out today, I need help. So. Because I got to read this and I don't know how it's gonna go so. We're gonna see all. Right. Let. Me start by thank you for him for that kind introduction for the kind introduction I got to get this kind of right here I don't know what I'm gonna do after. His leadership at Carnegie Mellon as you. Know for him this. Place, means the world to me it really is a treasure. There's. No other University, that. Brings together business. Where. Are you. Thank. You. The. Arts. The, humanities, the. Sciences. And. The. Social sciences the. Way CMU, does. Good. To see you. Thanks. Also to my fellow trustees. To. My fellow alumni who are over the place here. Engineering. I. Apologized, they. Told me not to leave the podium but I don't I'm, sorry about that and engineering, can I get a hardhat up here, this. Big, all. Right I. Cannot. Lost my place but what's right thanks also to my fellow trustees my. Fellow alumni, and. Most of all to. You guys whose students, and, to. Your parents a special. Thanks to my. Family and friends who are here today and of. Course. To. My 86, year old mom I think. She's over there hi mom when you're over there someplace, mom. Where. Are you mom, someplace. Over there I. Think. My mom's a little happy and proud today. But. My. Mom sometimes, can be a pain in the butt, and. I'm, sure your parents can't, be too. But. There is nobody on earth I owe more to and there's. Nobody on earth you, owe more to than your parents in. Life. In. Life. You. Should recognize your, parents, so. Let's take a moment and thank them. And. Last but not least I want, to congratulate and thank my, fellow honorary, doctors. Adda. Where, are you at it that. Is a very funny lady I got to tell you this whoever's gonna listen to her later a Nobel. Prize what she also has a Nobel Prize, it's. A side thing, Shafi. Goldwasser a touring Award winner and. A guy used to watch on TV when, I was younger not that much younger, an. Emmy Award winner Ted Danson, they're. Catching up to your wife dead. His. Wife has a couple, doctors more than him so but he's catching, up now. It's. Amazing what you can find out by talking to people it's. A good thing to listen. Now. After. The thank you so I think I'm supposed to start a speech here and. Preparing. I was given advice from professional speech writers, and public. Relations people, and of, course my, children. They. All told me not. To be too controversial, and try. To be proper. Let. Me apologize. To. All of them in advance, sorry. Guys not. Gonna happen I. Also. Prepared, by listening some of the best commencement, speeches of all time. Many. Were by actors. Somewhere. By politicians. All. Were delivered, with. Eloquence, and in. A professional, manner, to. All those of attendance to, all those in attendance if. You, were expecting, to hear a professional, speech today you. May be at, the wrong commencement. But. What I can't promise, what. I can't promise you is as much honesty. And personal. Personal, life experiences, as I can muster I. Think. People's life's are really combination, of different lace for.
You Students, it's. Been a life you had before college, with your parents, and the. Life you, had at college now. And the, life you're about to embark on I'm. Sure, some of you I'm sure some of you have overcome incredible, adversity, all. Of, you have had and I, can promise you all have, challenges. Disappointments. And triumphs. I'm. No, different on. The. Trunk trial side. This. Has been a hell of a week. A. Kid. From the streets of Pittsburgh, who. Had to work his way through college at Pitt and grad. School or Treat CMU, just. Got an honorary Doctor and it's giving MSO Swedish at this university, a. Kid. A kid. Who. Could afford to go to an NFL game. I kissed. A kid. Who. Sorry. About that a kid, who can't afford to go to an NFL game until. Well went to his 20s is on. The verge of getting the NFL's approval, to buy the Carolina, Panthers. Not. Too shabby. But. Believe me it, didn't start out that way I. Grew. Up I grew up in a working-class neighborhood, to stand the heights in the city of Pittsburgh we. Played touch football on, the street and tackle. Football in a nearby cemetery, we. Try to not hit the gravestones. The. Cell phone of the day. Was. Mom calling up the street to say dinner, was ready. My. Dad like a lot of dads had to work 60 hours weeks, just, to make ends meet. But. He taught me a couple things a couple, important lessons, first. Always think about charity, and those less fortunate, he. Came even when my family didn't have enough. And. Another lesson he used to ask us who. Do you treat better, the. President or, the garbage man. Do. You guys know the answer. Garbage. Man I'm talking, just generally not about any specific president, by the way. Garbage. Man. Garbage. Man is garbage man maybe the right answer because somebody just got to take your trash everyday right and if he doesn't take your trash sure really trouble but. Actually the answer is you. Treat them both both, the same all. Men. And women, and, women. Deserve. To be treated equally and with respect. Despite. These good things about my dad he, had a bad side too. He. Was physically abusive to me, I'm. Sure, it was a cycle, that, he. Got from his father and his. Father got. From his father. If. My young life. There. Was nothing more terrifying. There. Was no greater, adversity. But. I prayed to God that I. Would never be the same to my children.
And. I'm proud to say and, what. I view as the greatest accomplishment, of my life I. Broke. That. Cycle. Thank, you. Now. I'm shaking. High. School was. At an inner-city school called Peabody was. About half white and half african-american. There. Really was a lot of tension at the school between, us at the school back then and between the different high schools. Things. Were so bad between, Westinghouse, high school and Peabody, I think, it's now called a Barack Obama high that. When we played each other in football it was in front of empty stands to, keep people from fighting. It. Was rough there. Was actually, no. Grass, on the field it was dirt rocks, and they, used to oil down the field to keep the dust, from coming up true. Story, one, field goal post was, against the skull the. Other field goal post was against a fence if. You ran out of the endzone you had real problems. So. I played a little football in high school when I was also in school place. CFA. But. Money being short I had to work my. First. Job application. Was at McDonald's, I got. Turned down I. Did. I think. It was because I had an oversize afro. Wouldn't. Be a problem today. Actually. Wanted to take that off was so frickin hot up here I gotta tell you. But. I did get a job as a short-order cook in a deli I also. Sold knife door-to-door, and it, was a union work in a bakery. After. High school I went to the University of Pittsburgh where's. It down there. Okay. Where. I ate at the dirty Oh the original hotdog anybody original, hotdog France if. You like the French fries better you like the hotdogs better. French. Fries raise your head. Hot. Dogs, all. Right transfer, eyes win the day. Maybe. The dirty Oh had a girlfriend or two and worked at the Fine Arts Library and, got an honours degree in economics. After. Pitt I worked at a bank for a little and then came to Koenig Negi Mellon for my MBA. Even. Though his hard work I actually loved this place. It. Was also the foundation, for everything I've done professionally, since then this. Paid place this, place gave. Me the tools I needed to be successful, it really did I'm not kidding. Well. When. I graduated, I kind of liked markets and investments, so, I tried to get a job with Goldman Sachs but.
They Rejected me, didn't. Get a job there, we'll. Come back to goldman sachs a little later. So. After I got my MBA I made an unusual choice at the time I, went. To work for Republic, Steel. That. Wasn't a great time for steel but I know I would have be exposed to a lot and I really wanted to learn. About. Three months after. I got the Republic, still they. Gave a seven percent across-the-board. Pay. Cut. Pay. Cut all. My business, gold buddies oh my gosh business school friends called. Me up and said great, choice Thep. In. Two, years we probably still had to merge to avoid bankruptcy, but. It was a great choice and in. Those two years as they were trying to save the company we. Did. More finance, skills than it had at its previous 100 year history and. I learned from each one of them, there's. A lesson here in, life. In, life, get. All the experience you can while. You're young go for the experience, versus a paycheck. That. Kind of experience got me a job at a mutual fund specializing. To distressed companies and eventually. In, the, door of Goldman. Sachs. We're. In a short time because. My previous job experience and Kutta gets things cutting. Edge things I learned at CMU I advanced. Quickly and, became the head trader and Goldman's junk desk, that. Gave me more status and I knew at the time but. I really wanted was to become a partner I. Was. Up a partner for a few times but, never made it, one. Of the reasons was I had to refuse a powerful, partners request. The. Stories this, the. Partner has started a new fund, to. Invest in bankrupt, companies and I was supposed to make the trades for him he. Was also the partner who controlled our restricted list that's. The list of companies where you might have some conflicts, are some sensitive information. He. Asked me to buy a company that he had just removed from the restricted, list that, day that day it. Didn't seem right, in. Fact I went, to our legal department had told them what, was going on, they. Said it would be okay after a lot of back and forth but. It, still didn't feel right to me so. I refused again I. Didn't. Get fired, but. When I came up for partner I got shot down and. I. Was incredibly upset. But. You know what, you. Know what it. Turned out all right. Because. I didn't end up a partner, at, Goldman Sachs I started started my own company 25, years ago in 1993. Called Appaloosa, and, ended. Up doing something that was a lot more fun and made. My life better in so, many. Ways. In. Life, in. Life do. What's right, really. Do what's right and it won't hurt you, just. Keep your priorities straight. You. Know I keep, saying in life, but. Really as I said before there are many lies, I've.
Had An incredible, life from humble beginnings I've. Raised three great kids have. A woman I love I've. Had a successful, business career and incredible. Philanthropic, endeavors. And now. I am speaking to you as, a newly named doctorate, and I am on the verge of being named an NFL owner. You, guys you. Guys used to this is okay to say guys do this girls carry guys that are just guys girls, whatever you students, sorry. You. Had a life with your parents, then. A life at CMU, and you're. Going to have a few more lifes right. Now, like. I did I think I'll right now you all have negative balance, sheets. But. You have so much. Upside. You. All have great opportunities, ahead don't. Let anyone. Anyone. Tell. You different, you, live, in what was is, and. Always, will, be the. Land of opportunity, and that, most and the greatest and most generous country in the world. Remember. Remember, this last, thing, when. All you become successful. Remember. To give back give back. God. Bless all you, god. Bless see em you. And god. Bless america. Thank, you. You.