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Saturday, December 9, 2023


When it comes to Inspiring Minds, Make-A-Wish CEO says “it’s like butter”


Make-A-Wish CEO and president David Williams watches the ESPN report on Charles Pena, a Make-A-Wish recipient who was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. His wish to be a coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for one day was granted. | Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

After UH MBA alumnus David Williams graduated from Bloomsburg University with a degree in business administration, he started an accounting job at Shell. Williams admitted he wasn’t very good at it. His wife — at the time, his supervisor — would agree.

They both agreed the reason was that he didn’t love it, or as Williams said later on, it didn’t make his “butter melt.” Williams, now the president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America, asked the audience Thursday, “What makes your butter melt?”

Williams is the first of a new lecture series called “Inspiring Minds.” Although Williams runs a nonprofit organization, Latha Ramchand, dean of the C. T. Bauer College of Business, said speakers in the series do not have to work for a non-profit.

david williams

Make-A-Wish President and CEO David Williams takes a question from a Bauer student in the audience. Williams received his MBA at Bauer in 1992. | Sara Samora/The Cougar

“We see, we hear (and) we are aware of so many people in society, in the economy, business leaders, social leaders that make a difference in people’s lives,” Ramchand said. “We strongly believe that the college (is) not just a place where you can get a degree. It’s really a place that you come and change the way you think.”

“Inspiring Minds” was born out of a need to show students key players who are making a difference after earning their degree.

“What will you do when you fail?” Williams asked the audience. “Because you will fail. Failure is part of life. It’s not if you fail, but what (you are) going to do when you fail.”

The next guest speaker of “Inspiring Minds” has yet to be announced, though Ramchand said the goal is to have at least one speaker a semester.

“I hope that it really helps our students understand that a degree is not just a piece of paper,” Ramchand said. “It’s a lifetime of learning and giving back, and we all want that inner meaning in our lives.”

For more information on the “Inspiring Mind” series, contact Danielle Ponder at 713-743-4334.

[email protected]

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