Beebe Pays Visit to Alma Mater

March 12, 2003
Posted at: 9:10 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, Ark. -- An elected state official visited his alma mater Wednesday to instruct today's youth on how to become tommorow's leaders.

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe was a guest lecturer at Arkansas State University. His lesson plan: How to combine wisdom with strength of character to become an effective leader.

Since graduating from ASU in 1968, Beebe has held several leadership positions. He's been a litigator, a legislator, and most recently was elected to the state's Attorney General's office.

"Talking to students is an extra-special thing. It feels good, and Ii remember when I used to sit in those seats," Beebe said.

He says he made it to these postions by following two important rules, lessons he wants these business students to follow as well.

"First of all you need to be knowledgeable in your subject matter if you're going to be an effective leader," Beebe told the students. "Secondly, you need to persuade and guide people without just telling them what to do."

Beebe says people must feel they can trust you before they can follow you, a trust he says his former colleagues in the General Assembly have a hard time building. According to Beebe, term limits are the biggest obstacle standing in the way of effective leadership in this state.

"They don't have time to build up the kind of trusting relationships necessary over a two or three year period that it takes to be able to exert leadership," Beebe said.

Beebe also said that in order for that leadership to be long-standing, it's got to be practiced over a lifetime.

"It's a never ending process of education."