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Friday, May 6, 2016

ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen speaks to DePauw students

Saturday, October 6, 2012

DePauw graduate Bill Rasmussen (left), the founder of ESPN, spoke Thursday at Kresge Auditorium as fellow alumnus Dave Bohmer moderated.
As he wandered across the Kresge Auditorium stage on Thursday, weary to avoid standing behind the pulpit set up for him, it seemed redundant for DePauw graduate Bill Rasmussen to speak about the importance of enthusiasm.

It was that same energy and enthusiasm helped Rasmussen turn ESPN from an idea and $9,000 of debt into the multi-billion dollar empire it is today.

Rasmussen spoke as part of the 175th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni series.

He focused on his time working to get ESPN started, from the idea of using cable television, to securing financing and programming, up to the first broadcast on Sept. 7, 1979.

Aside from enthusiasm, Rasmussen said some of his biggest keys to success were doing something different and welcoming challenges.

"When your opposition is complacent, that's the best thing that can happen," Rasmussen said. "I love a challenge. Tell me I can't do something and we're going to figure out how to do it."

Rasmussen said returning to town to speak at his alma mater is always special for him.

"The first time I stepped on the campus was 62 years ago last month," he said. "I love to talk to the kids and get over to the media center and chitchat. It's a lot of fun."

Rasmussen stayed after to sign his book "Sports Junkies Rejoice: The Birth of ESPN" and will be speaking at a variety of locations around Greencastle in the next few days.

"We're going to inundate the area," he said.

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