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By Jesse Coombs

As a graduate of the Masters of Business program and a resident of Corvallis OR, I am proud to say that Oregon State University has invited me to be the opening speaker of their Austin Visiting Fellows Spring series. In an effort to create unique programs that prepare students for greater creativity and accomplishment in their lives, Oregon State University’s College of Business created the Austin Entreprenurship Program. The university is so serious about this program that they even built a specific resident hall for the AEP students and have created many programs to encourage the students to stretch their capabilities. One of these programs is the Austin Visiting Fellow program. The university invites leading business executives and entrepreneurs to dine with and speak to the students as well as spend the evening in a Weatherford suite. I will be in good company as previous speakers include vice presidents of banks and financial institutions, deans of colleges and CEOs of cutting edge technology start up companies. To be invited amongst this group is humbling. I am glad to say that when I asked the university what message they would like me to present to the students they said:

‘I believe that your passion for kayaking (and life) is evident and that your message will clearly resonate with our students. My favorite quote from your article is – "The day you stop taking risks is the day you stop living."
I believe that your visit will help inspire our students to find ways to follow their passions – what a great message for college students to hear.’

I believe that when the dean of the college learned that I had stepped away from a lucrative job in corporate America to become a full time investor and professional kayaker at a young age, she believed my story would resonate well with the students. I consider this opportunity to speak with the students a great honor and responsibility. Hopefully I will be able to inspire them to do two very important things in their life: follow their passions and do it responsibly.

To learn more about the Austin Entreprenurship Program feel free to visit this link:



P.S. Check out this great article in April ’08 Men’s Fitness