Texas Tech University

Rawls College of Business Hosts Leadership Presentation by Major General Jeffrey Hammond

Trevor Bell

November 4, 2014

This story was provided by Emily Gardner, media relations intern for the Texas Tech University Office of Communications and Marketing.

Rawls College of Business Hosts Leadership Presentation: Retired Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond discussed Making a Difference Leadership.

Hammond Jeff
(Photo courtesy of the University of Southern Mississippi)

Moral courage to do the right thing and the integrity to be right are the two most important qualities in leadership, retired Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond told Texas Tech University students, faculty and staff.

Hammond gave a presentation Friday (Oct. 31) at the Rawls College of Business titled "Making a Difference Leadership," where he discussed leadership and his military experience. Hammond's wife and President M. Duane Nellis also were in attendance.

"That is who I am," Hammond said. "That is central to everything I believe to be true about leadership. Integrity and moral courage to do the right thing. Are leaders made or are leaders born? I don't know. But if they aren't raised from the beginning with a large dose of integrity and moral courage they're never going to be a great leader."

Hammond also discussed how the U.S. Army Infantry School taught leadership with the two words: "Follow me." He then shared six lessons learned from Bill Crawford, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who spent the latter portion of his life as a janitor at U.S. Air Force Academy.

Six of the lessons learned from Crawford include:

  • Be cautious of labels
  • Everyone deserves respect
  • Take time to know your people
  • Anyone could be a hero
  • Leaders should be humble
  • Don't pursue glory

Hammond said he added one more lesson to the list, which he believes is the No. 1 lesson: Make a difference.

"You were put on this world for a purpose, you're here to make a difference in life," he said. "You're not here just to ride a bus. This country was made great because men and women chose to make a difference."

Hammond also shared with students his experiences in Iraq, particularly Sadr City, which contributed to his beliefs in leadership.

"Sometimes you've just got to make a decision, you've got to have the moral courage to do the right thing and you have to have the integrity to have everyone's best interests at hand, and you want to stand behind the decision no matter what," he said. "So, we went into Sadr City."

Hammond said after the invasion, the unit lost initiative and momentum. But a major spoke up saying he could make a difference and Hammond had to trust his instincts.

"I look back at that entire period of time and realize that in my role as a leader, despite the fact that I was the most experienced of all, I didn't have an answer but I had instincts," he said. "My instincts were honed for years and years from listening to guys like Bill Crawford, playing sports, being competitive in the classroom."

Hammond encouraged students to embrace the leadership aspects he talked about, as well as to discover the reason behind the careers they choose.

Hammond grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and played football for the University of Southern Mississippi. He became a lieutenant and served 32 years in the Army. He said he did not plan to make the military his career, only entering because he did what his father told him, but he fell in love with the soldiers and their families.

"The three reasons we served 32 years," he said, "the three reasons kids serve today is they really believe in 'God bless America,' they really believe in duty, honor, country, and they really believe that there's a spiritual calling in life. God made us for a reason, and in this case, for us, it was to serve our nation."

Hammond serves as Southern Mississippi's athletic director and currently is the special assistant to the president for Military and Veteran Affairs. He also was colleagues with Rawls Dean Lance Nail at Southern Mississippi.

"When I got here and we started talking about the things that are important to us, we started talking about leadership and integrity," Nail said. "These are the things that matter the most to me and matters most, I think, to what we're trying to instill here in the Rawls College. Jeff is the person who I think characterizes those in the greatest way."

This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.