At the end of his six years as a UT regent, Alex Cranberg shared stories of his ascension from being an undergrad at the University to a powerful member of the oil and gas industry and a University regent.
Thursday night, he spoke to the Tejas Club, a men’s social organization that he was a member of during his time at the University, for their weekly lecture series “Tejas Coffee.”
“Tejas Coffee is a space for students to hear from important and interesting people,” said Connor Madden, a Plan II business senior and vice president of the Tejas Club. “Given his prestige within the university community, it’s great to hear from him.”
Cranberg spent the night telling stories from when he lived at Tejas House for a year with newly confirmed Secretary of Sate Rex Tillerson, to his work in the oil and gas industry. But for members of the audience, the night was one during which many were confronted with hard to swallow views of the economy, politics and the oil and gas industry, biochemistry junior Brad White said.
“We don’t share all of the same ideas … but I thought it was really good to challenge yourself in listening, calmly and rationally, to people with different opinions from you,” White said. “I know I’m going to go back and … really try to discover why I believe the things that I believe.”
While sharing his ideas in the realms of economic deregulation and showing his support of the Trump administration’s new cabinet members like Tillerson and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Cranberg also gave advice on managing one’s interests in life.
Cranberg attended Stanford for graduate school, where he found his belief in the power of building connections. He said one of his professors spoke about how “there’s three legs to the stool of your life,” a leg for your personal life, a leg for your professional life and a leg for your civic life. His professor believed that when one became weak, you had the others to fall back on, but Cranberg thought otherwise.
“What’s really the truth is that the three legs of the stools don’t just act as backstops, they act as centers,” Cranberg said. “The people who you associate with in a civic activity … are the same people who are connected and … if you build a diverse and multifaceted network in both your business interests and your civic interests, then they’re both stronger.”
McKay Proctor, a supply chain management senior and president of the Tejas Club, said he appreciates Cranberg’s legacy in his “multifaceted” involvement with the University from being a student all the way to his regency.
“He’s brought a lot of perspective to a lot of issues … which I think is something the club is really proud of,” Proctor said. “Service to the University is something really near and dear to our hearts and bringing your own specific flavor to that is the most Tejas thing you can do.”