SMU Alumnus Bill O’Neil Pays Business and Journalism Students a Visit to Discuss the Meaning of Truth in the Economic and Reporting World

November 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Lara Mirgorod

On Thursday, Oct. 13, SMU students received a warm visit and lecture from Bill O’ Neil, founder of SMU’s O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom. Students, faculty and O’Neil Center employees were there to hear what the successful entrepreneur and author had to say.

“What O’Neil has given to this school is the center which will help students learn the benefits of free markets, society, and how this can lead to prosperity,” said Research Associate for O’Neil center, Kathryn Shelton

William J. “Bill” O’ Neil established the O’Neil Center at Southern Methodist University in 2008. O’Neil studied at SMU and received a Bachelor’s degree in 1955.

He is a successful entrepreneur, stockbroker and writer who founded the business newspaper Investor’s Business Daily and the stockbrokerage firm William O’Neil + Co Inc.

“I wanted to invest in this building because I felt like I had to make a change in student’s lives and what they are listening to when it comes to the media” said O’Neil.

O’Neil said he gave the money to invest in the O’Neil center because he realized several years ago that the national media is never going to tell the full truth.

“I wanted to tell journalists to be aware of how the business world works. I think a country can get into trouble if the media is not balanced enough no matter what side one prefers when it comes to politics,” says O’Neil.

The center offers education and training for today’s students who are focusing on the future and importance of globalization in the business world.

O’Neil explained to students that the future safety of the country depends on the truth.

“Your job as journalists is to get the truth out,” says O’Neil.

Many students were pleasantly surprised at how passionate O’Neil was about journalism and business students’ futures.

“You always want to have a successful and well known alumni, and it enhances global perception of our degree,” said SMU senior finance and economics major, C.J. Camerato.

O’Neil’s main point was that people can not build businesses without knowing exactly what is going on.

“You must learn both sides of every argument, and you need to separate what is true from what is not,” said O’Neil.

He made a point that in today’s generation, most journalists tend to think one way and one way only.

“No one limits you except yourself. You decide what you are going to be, because the government can not decide that for you. The government needs to get out of the way and let opportunities flow” says O’Neil.

There were about 40 students who attended the lecture, and O’Neil asked questions for them to answer, and tired to spark debate and curiosity.

“I think it is important for us as an entitled generation, in an entitled area, to hear a successful person say don’t be a victim and take responsibility for your actions. If you live your life blaming other people then you aren’t going to get anywhere” said senior SMU Finance and Film Production major Ricky Townsend.

When O’Neil first started his business paper, he hired 40 reporters and only two or three of them were conservatives.

“I had to make a change, because I felt that this was distorting the news” said O’Neil.

O’Neil started to change his newspaper in positive ways to make it successful. He didn’t want young journalists to form opinions that were not really their own.

O’Neil remembered when he heard about Ronald Reagan on the news, and different accusations about Communism, and did not want to see the country fall apart because of what the media was turning into.

“It is easy to get brainwashed by the media these days because of false accusations and what I learned from the news in the past is what made me decide to invest in this joined program at SMU, and it happens to be very successful” says O’Neil.

SMU business major Quentin Major believes that this building is going to help students become educated and more aware of what is going on in the nation’s economy.

“It is a great thing that he has invested this building for SMU, and I know I will benefit from his success. I think students may admire Bill for the goals he has achieved, and what he has done for our wonderful campus,” said Major.

Director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, William Michael Cox believes that O’Neil has brought a free market perspective to this University, where it is very much needed.

“Bill is a successful business man in the newspaper world and what students have to understand and remember is that success in America means you are supplying a product that people willingly buy, because they find it valuable and useful in their lives” says Cox.