Successful entrepreneur and philanthropist David Rubenstein spoke to hundreds of students Friday in the auditorium. Among many topics, he talked about his diverse career path and the importance of giving back to the community.
“All of you have the chance to do something to make the world a better place,” he said.
Rubenstein co-founded The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm with about one million employees worldwide today. He is now worth over $2 billion. He stressed, however, the importance of giving the bulk of his money back to the public instead of keeping it for personal fortune.
“It’s a better course to do other things with your money,” Rubenstein said.
With his wealth, he purchased the last copy of the Magna Carta and donated it to the National Archives, he said. He has also donated funds to help repair the Washington Monument.
Rubenstein also emphasized the importance of enjoying what you do for work.
“Nobody won a Nobel Prize for something they hated doing,” he said. “If you love what you’re doing, it’s not really work.”
Students asked Rubenstein questions on topics including volunteer opportunities for students, politics, taxes and college education.
Rubenstein also discussed the essay competition that he sponsors. The Junior Achievement Essay offers students a good chance to practice their writing skills, he said. The essay this year is on the topic of reducing income disparities with $110,000 in scholarships available for winners.
Rubenstein was born and raised in Baltimore in a lower middle-class family. He attended Duke and the University of Chicago, and quickly got a job in the White House for President Jimmy Carter as a domestic policy advisor. He explained how while he enjoyed his job, he didn’t add much to the president’s administration.
“My contribution may not have been that great,” he said. “But I got a job at the White House.”
Rubenstein’s presentation also emphasized the benefits of self-esteem when one helps others. He also talked about other ways to help the greater good.
“Being a philanthropist is not just about giving away money,” he said. “You can give away time, energy and ideas.”