1967, Jack Hunt – CEO of King-Ranch, Texas

My decision to major in history at Williams was driven more by the quality of the History Department faculty then (1960s), its open mindedness about how you look at historical events, and the fact that many of my closer friends at Williams were history majors. Importantly, thanks to the near heroic efforts of Professor John M. Hyde I learned how to express my ideas in a modestly articulate manner. Success in business comes from many sources, but for me it has mostly resulted from a combination of luck and my ability to develop friendships and business associations with folks who are hard-working, honest and fair, and generally as smart or smarter than me. While these skills have been developed over a lifetime, clearly their foundation was laid at Williams through exposure to a diverse environment fostered by Williams’ commitment to a broad liberal arts program.

Following graduation and four years active duty in the Navy I was still undecided what to do as a career. Accepted at both business and law school, I decided to get an MBA at Harvard because it was only two years instead of three. That I had done reasonably well at a school like Williams provided me the luxury to have many career choices. Eventually, I gravitated to agriculture since I had a deep background there from over ten summers spent ranching and farming in Texas and New Mexico. As my career developed I developed expertise in managing large, complex ranching, farming, land and resource operations. The broad array of issues associated with these operations has required modest analytical skills, strong people judgement skills, and decent gut instincts at times. These are skills that I believe evolve from a basic understanding of how the things work (or should work), and why things are the way they are, but not necessarily great technical expertise. Skills, which I believe are at the foundation of a solid liberal arts education. As an aside, I have been CEO of two great historical Ranches, Tejon Ranch in California, and King Ranch in Texas when they have celebrated their 150th Anniversaries-not bad duty for a history major. Also, I continue to enjoy my long service as a Trustee of the Autry Center in Los Angeles-an institution devoted to understanding and explaining the history of the west in all its complexity.