Alan Mullaly's LHS Questionnaire ( .PDF )
Alan Mulally returned to Lawrence on Friday, giving back to the community that gave him so much — including a broad-based education that led to a career in engineering and business that shows no signs of slowing down.
“My education here, I treasure,” Mulally said, opening his remarks of the Lawrence Schools Foundation’s ninth annual Community Education Breakfast at the Lawrence Holidome. “I don’t think I’m any different than the day I graduated.”
Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, delivered the keynote address for the event that drew more than 600 people. Through sponsorships and ticket sales, the breakfast generated more than $60,000 for the foundation, which supports Lawrence public schools.
The foundation pays salaries for educators in the district’s early-education program, provides grants for innovative projects, provides awards for outstanding teachers, finances scholarships for high school seniors and addresses other districtwide needs.
Also during the breakfast event, Superintendent Rick Doll honored these four students as “Student Champions,” deserving recognition for their leadership skills, academic performance and commitment to public service:
• Bethany Cobbs, Free State High School.
• Nolan Frank, Free State High School.
• Chris Gaston, Lawrence High School.
• Brittany Ray, Lawrence High School.
Mulally said he was honored to follow four such exemplary students, before sharing stories about his experiences at Ford and his memories of his early days in Lawrence.
He told the audience about making regular $1.25 deposits at Capitol Federal Savings — proceeds from selling TV Guides — before buying his first bike at Montgomery Ward. He laughed when reminded he’d received a B in English. And he turned to a bit of exaggeration when asked how his reputed prowess on the tennis courts had served him in the business world.
“It’s the answer to my success,” he said, drawing laughs.
After applauding a musical performance by 4-year-olds in the early-education program — “that was perfect,” he’d say afterward — Mulally stuck around for photos, chatted with friends and family and others attending the event.
Then he left with members of his security team for another stop in town, before heading back later for Michigan: KU, and the office of Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.