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KSA Then & Now: Rad Hastings 77
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KSA Then & Now
Rad Hastings '77
"There was a strong feeling that this organization was going to grow and prosper"

Editor's note: In this new, recurring feature, Kellogg World catches up with former student leaders whose efforts and ideas helped to create the Kellogg culture of today. 

It would not have been unusual on a Saturday morning in the mid-1970s to find Rad Hastings '77 and other Kellogg students in Dean Donald P. Jacobs' office in Leverone Hall, pitching ideas for new student programs.

Among their many concepts: a new student newspaper called The Buzzword, a handbook named Pro Forma for incoming students, and organized trips for students to visit potential employers in downtown Chicago.

  Rad Hastings in 2009
  Rad Hastings in 1977 surrounded by his GMA vice presidents (counterclockwise from the left: Al Meyer, Carol Jean "Jeannie" Mutz and Cyndy de Nuna, all '77)

Hastings served as president of the group, known as the Kellogg Graduate Management Association; the association's innovative ideas are still a vital part of the Kellogg culture today. The student newspaper was renamed The Merger and is now published three times per quarter. The employer visits are known as Career Treks, and the destinations include companies around the world. The student handbook, once a simply bound set of papers, is now a glossy, well-designed publication.

When Jacobs became dean in 1975, he wanted the GMA — since renamed the Kellogg Student Association — to play a larger role in the school's direction and curriculum, Hastings recalls. The new administration paved the way for many additional initiatives that the class founded in collaboration with the school, including a points-based course bidding system and teacher course evaluations.

"The GMA wasn't that advanced before," Hastings says. "It was more of a liaison group that was responsible for helping to integrate the students and introduce them to the school during events such as CIM Week."

That invitation to collaborate created a strong incentive for students to run for leadership positions in the GMA. "Dean Jacobs (who retired in 2001) was extraordinarily interested in new ideas from the students to help develop programs for the school to make it a better place," Hastings says. "He was extremely encouraging."

When good ideas were presented, Jacobs would often say yes — but would provide only half the funding, Hastings recalls. This challenged the students to lead with their own ideas and work to get them implemented.

"We'd raise money by selling donuts and bagels in the morning and we started the Friday TG to promote student/faculty interactions," Hastings says. "It would encourage us to find the money and that would commit us to the project. There was a strong feeling that this organization was going to grow and prosper."

Hastings also recalls the "strong encouragement" for section-mates to interact and get to know each other. "We were directed early on to think about working as teams in school, and that continued into the non-school environment," he says.

Those early experiences paved the way for Hastings' post-Kellogg career. After long stints in banking and at a large private manufacturing company, he now heads the private equity division of Miller Investment Management, located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

"I learned about having a bigger mandate than advancing myself," Hastings says. "My experience also gave me this connection to the school that I've always valued, and I am trying to give back. If you are called and asked, you step up."

A member of the Kellogg Alumni Council, Hastings continues to keep close ties to the school, and maintains personal and business connections with many of his former colleagues. He has been actively involved in the creation of the private equity network and with the development activities of the alumni council. He's not surprised that Kellogg has achieved a unique position in the MBA market.

"You could tell it was a special place from the beginning of the first week," Hastings says. "It grabbed us — we felt that the Kellogg community was unified in support of one another, and not just a place for getting an advanced degree. You felt the connection, and the commitment, right away." – Amy Trang

Photo above left: Rad Hastings in 1977 (top right) surrounded by his GMA vice presidents: (counterclockwise from the left: Al Meyer, Carol Jean "Jeannie" Mutz and Cyndy de Nuno, all '77). Right: Rad Hastings in 2009

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