Founders Day speaker to tell how he succeeds as an entertainment exec

By Trayonna Hendricks

Every year Hampton University has a Founder's Day ceremony where a renowned speaker is chosen to deliver the keynote address and pay homage to the General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, the founder of this university. This weekend the 123rd Founders Day ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. in Ogden Hall on Sunday, Jan. 31 and Michael D. Armstrong will deliver the keynote address.

Graduating in 1994 with the class of "OgrephiOgre8," Armstrong took his bachelors on to not only receive his masters from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, but also to become the executive vice president and general manager, international brand development for Viacom International Media Networks.

"I'm incredibly humbled and honored to be able to come back to the place that I love, my home by the sea. It's a little bit surreal," said Armstrong. Hampton University is known for molding leaders, including Booker T. Washington, Alberta Williams King and Douglas Palmer Armstrong. Like those mentioned, Armstrong has gone on to lead in many different realms throughout his career including sales, marketing and business after his tenure at Hampton University.

Armstrong shared a few key things that he has received from Hampton that he still utilizes in his career today: "Hampton really taught me to problem solve and to be self-reliant, it's one of the virtues of Hampton to be resourceful."

At Hampton, it's important to take advantage of your network and to remain persistent in the midst of your journey said Armstrong. He shared his advice that he would give to students who aspire to work in the entertainment industry as he does today: "Don't focus too narrowly on what it means to be in the entertainment industry. If you read what's going on in the industry, you will find that you can be at a company like Viacom, Netflix, Google, and be "in the industry" but just doing something different."

All students are working towards some type of a career and, according to Armstrong, making sure you focus on your goals is the most important thing you can do: "A true Hamptonian that's resourceful will do their homework and study. If you really aspire to work in the industry, study it, learn what it is, and what it is you want to do within it.

"That applies for any industry, and with the Internet available, there's no excuse."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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