When Andrew Thornhill walked into Rowland 206 on Sept.12 to speak to students about his experiences as an entrepreneur, the vibe of the classroom changed from an attitude of passivity to one of inspiration.
Guest speakers have graced the halls of Shippensburg University in the past, but what made Thornhill stand out from the rest is his selflessness to share his success and insight with students.
This selflessness was demonstrated when a student who had recently recorded tracks with his music group asked Thornhill how to promote his group’s album.
Without hesitation, Thornhill said, “Let me give you a number to a friend of mine, but make sure you tell him you know me.”
At these words, a wave of admirable shock radiated throughout the classroom from watching him help this student with the first steps to accomplish his dream.
Margaret Miller, a student present in the class said, “Mr. Thornhill showed true interest and concern toward the students and their dreams. Because of his genuine delight in hearing our individual stories, he drew the attention of the entire class.”
After class, Thornhill granted me an interview full of more of his industry wisdom.
Thornhill said, “I knew from the beginning what I wanted, but I did not see it as a path. I knew I wanted to be independent in business, and I worked with good people that guided me.”
He added, “You have to see the big picture and take every opportunity.”
“A close friend of mine said ‘Sometimes in a cube; step outside to see that it is there. The universe is a cube and there is all this stuff that is wonderful,” he said.
“If you’re not passionate, you’re just not passionate,” Thornhill simply said.
He then told me of a previous visit to SU that sparked his curiosity and led to a successful chain of events.
Thornhill said he noticed that the grass around campus was different from other grass in that it was more durable.
This led him to investigate the company that distributes the grass seed, which led him to an idea for a book on ecosystems.
“Warren Buffet just bought over 50 newspapers,” Thornhill said. “He didn’t do that for nothing.”
He added, “All will join forces in one media stream. There will always be talented news writers, but now there are distribution opportunities. It relies on the individual writer.”
With that final dose of insight, the interview came to a close.
Whether it is a strike of inspiration or a shard of hope in a long lost dream, meeting inspiring and successful people such as Andrew Thornhill offers an out-of-the-ordinary peek at a world of bigger and better things.