Mark Cuban to headline new Judson speaker series in May
Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban will headline a new Judson University speaker series launching in May.
Cuban will be the inaugural guest of "Conversations with Mark Vargas," a Judson World Leaders Forum series focusing on business and entrepreneurship debuting May 16 in Elgin.
An entrepreneur, investor and among the sharks on ABC Network's popular "Shark Tank" TV show, Cuban will participate in a live Q&A with Judson alumnus Vargas, discussing life lessons, business, politics, successes and failures, and finding inspiration.
Entrepreneurship is a popular certificate program for undergraduate students at Judson where they learn important skills for starting new ventures and turning their ideas into successful businesses. Supporting Judson's budding entrepreneurs also has been a focus of the World Leaders Forum.
Proceeds from the event will fund entrepreneurship and diversity scholarships for Judson students interested in business.
"We try to find innovative ways to promote and encourage entrepreneurship," Judson President Gene Crume said of the World Leaders Forum's purpose and vision. "Mark Cuban is one of the most recognizable and inspiring business leaders of our time and we're tremendously excited to welcome him to Judson University."
Crume expects Cuban will be a huge draw for Judson with the popularity of "Shark Tank," a concept Judson has emulated to create its own yearly business pitch contest of the same name.
"Mr. Cuban is one of the compelling figures on that show," Crume said. "He's got a pretty broad platform. He has invested in a lot of companies. Anytime you can bring a person like Mark Cuban to Elgin and to Judson, it exposes Elgin and Judson to him, and hopefully, it puts us on his radar, as well."
Ultimately, Crume is hopeful these conversations with business leaders will "inspire creativity and entrepreneurship in our community."
Cuban's entrepreneurial career began at age 12 selling garbage bags door-to-door to later starting several successful companies, including MicroSolutions, a computer consulting service he sold in 1990 to CompuServe, and Broadcast.com, a sports radio website later to sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion. In 2000, Cuban acquired the Dallas Mavericks, listed among Forbes' most valuable franchises in sports. Cuban is chairman and CEO of AXS TV and an investor in a portfolio of businesses, according to his website.
Vargas' personal connection with Cuban and his work as a tech entrepreneur in health care, a political opinion writer and political adviser sparked the idea for this conversation series.
Vargas said he will share how he met Cuban in a nontraditional manner and the conversation will offer a different perspective on the tech mogul.
What's unique about this speaker series is that it involves intimate conversations with "some of the most recognizable names in politics, business and media," he added.
"It will be a powerful and meaningful discussion," Vargas said. "This will be an engaging, one-on-one conversation covering a wide range of topics."
Event sponsors will be able to ask speakers questions during the program. Tickets are available to the public at judsonu.edu.