Oct 31, 2014

Blackstone’s Verdun Perry Delivers Remarks at Morehouse College’s Crown Forum

Verdun Perry, Co-Head of Strategic Partners at Blackstone, spoke last week to approximately 1,000 students at Morehouse College’s Crown Forum. Mr. Perry received his B.A from Morehouse, where he graduated magna cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Lessons shared in his remarks have been excerpted below.
  • While my parents often spoke of me going to college one day, it occurred to me finally during my sophomore year in high school that they wouldn’t be able to pay for it. Instinctively, without fully recognizing it, I knew I had to fight. I did two things: I got a part-time job at a fast food restaurant and worked as many hours as I could, and I became obsessively focused on my studies. I knew that if I were to have a chance at college, I had to get a scholarship. One of the proudest moments in my life was handing my parents the acceptance letter from Morehouse College offering me a four-year scholarship.

  • It is often the small, seemingly insignificant acts that make all the difference. Being responsible and disciplined to complete the mundane, the boring, the unexciting, the tedious, the hard to understand tasks is what wins the day. The fight is always in front of you. You may procrastinate or make excuses, but little do you know, you are losing fights all along the way that have long-term, significant implications for you and your family.

  • Personal resilience, discipline and the will to fight are crucial to surviving a crisis, but they are just as important in responding to life’s day-to-day challenges which are often disguised as everyday responsibilities – going to class, doing homework, studying for tests, staying fit and eating right. For it is not what you do on your best day that determines your ultimate success, but rather what you do on your worst day. What do you do when you are at your lowest or when challenges come your way? Fight or Fold? 

  • Too often, when our men and women in uniform come home, they have to fight again – though this fight is very different than what they encounter overseas, their survival is no less dependent on winning it. No matter the circumstance, in addition to fighting for our own dreams and ambitions, we must help others fight to make their dreams possible.

Following his graduation from Morehouse, Mr. Perry received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow. He serves as a Board Member of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO).