Having the Right Team

James B. Hunt, Jr. recalls his quick ascent into the student body president position and the importance of surrounding himself with an effective team of student leaders.

Interview on 2012-05-29


00:00:00.000 So I served in the senate for two years and at the end of my sophomore year I was elected student government vice president
00:00:08.688 and that fall when we came back to college the student body president dropped out of college, a fine person,
00:00:15.295 and I was elevated to president and I served that year as president of the student body.
00:00:21.257 Learned some lessons, by the way, one of which was you need to have your own team in place,
00:00:31.450 because some of the people that had been appointed by my-or some had been elected-but they were on the sort of a team of leadership
00:00:41.490 of the person who'd been elected president, didn't respond to me when I came in.
00:00:46.697 They kind of tried to ignore me and I couldn't get their help. So I learned right then, you got to have your own team in place.
00:00:58.004 There's a book, Team of Rivals, about how Lincoln put in place in his cabinet all the people that ran against him,
00:01:09.526 and they didn't work with him very much, and some people say, well, that tried, it was a trial thing, you know. Baloney.
00:01:17.726 You want to have your own team in place to help you carry out what you're elected to do. You got to have help.
00:01:23.430 So, after serving that first year as student body president under those circumstances, at the end of my junior year I ran again for president of student government
00:01:35.861 and was elected, so that would be my second year. I had my team in place and I think we made a lot of progress.
00:01:42.583 I worked closely with the chancellor and with the deans but I represented the students and regularly I'd be on a different side from the president of the college union or the student newspaper, or whatever it was,
00:01:56.711 and you get some real experience in how to lead, how to focus on the issues, how to get people to work with you and come to your side and get things done.
00:02:08.665 That was very good experience for what I did later in life.