Shark Tank star Daymond John to speak at SFA as part of lecture series

Daymond John, from the hit show “Shark Tank,” will be visiting campus to serve as this year's speaker for the Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 in the Kennedy Auditorium.   

Daymond John is an award winning business entrepreneur and creator of the streetwear fashion wear brand FUBU.  

“We wanted somebody that would come in and give our students an opportunity to see somebody who has been successful from the ground up to really understand the root of what entrepreneurship is,” Director of External Relations Trisha Kellogg said. “Not only has [Daymond John] done that personally and professionally, but he also has been able to do that through ‘Shark Tank.’” 

The Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series was created by the SFA Rusche College of Business in 2016 to bring in scholars and business leaders to inform the SFA community. Dr. Timothy Bisping, dean of the college, said the department faculty makes sure to keep an eye out for speakers they believe will give students a great experience. 

“We spend time talking with students, faculty and staff about their interests and then investigate who is available and would be the best with the goals of Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series,” Bisping said. 

This event happens every two years. Previous speakers from 2016 and 2018 include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. The 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19.  

Dr. Raymond J. Jones III, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategy, was chosen as the designated interviewer for the event 

“Dr. Bisping, the dean of the College of Business, asked if I was willing and interested in conducting the interview,” Jones said. I created and directed the entrepreneurship program here at SFA, so that, coupled with my entrepreneurial background, made me a good candidate to [lead the] interviewThis is the first time I am the interviewer for this series. I am very excited for this opportunity.” 

Jones and a group of his entrepreneurship students developed 10 questions for him to ask during the interview, and the questions have been approved by Daymond John’s team. 

Bisping said it’s a lot of fun meeting successful guests. “My favorite part of the series is hearing first-hand accounts of the stories of these very successful individuals, and the advice they have for our students,” he said. 

The lecture series is free and open to the public, but it is a ticketed eventTickets are available for pickup at The Charles Bright Visitor Center downtown or at the Baker Pattillo Student Center information desk. 

There will be a private reception held at 6 p.m., and a separate ticket is required. The tickets for the private reception are $150 and available for purchase by contacting SFA’s Office of Development at 936.468.5406, or by contacting Sarah Sargent, director of advancement series, via email at 

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