TOMS founder visits ACU, inspires students

Posted September 21, 2010

In January 2006, Blake Mycoskie made his first trip to Argentina where he became aware of a problem: Many children in the South American country don’t have shoes. Mycoskie decided to do something about it.

Blake MycoskieFast-forward to September 2010: Blake Mycoskie is Chief Shoe Giver for the company (TOMS) that he founded a month after returning from that fateful journey.

Mycoskie was on ACU's campus last week, sharing the story of TOMS and the message he wants all young people to understand: that they, too, can make a significant impact for good on the world in which they live.

"Giving fills you up in a way that nothing else can, but it doesn't just feel good; it's also better for business," Mycoskie says. "If you build giving into your life, you will be blessed more than you could ever imagine."

Mycoskie, who has just delivered his 1 millionth pair of free shoes, spoke at ACU's Moody Coliseum to some 5,000 students and guests from across Abilene.  His visit was arranged by ACU's College of Business, the Honors College and the Student Association.

"It was really interesting to actually hear him tell his story in person," said Elizabeth Coffee, advertising/public relations major from San Antonio. "It’s amazing to think that such a simple idea of giving is being used to help thousands of people throughout the world."

On the day after Mycoskie's presentation, nearly 1,000 participants came together for a campus-wide "Style Your Sole" party. Students used markers, paints and colored fabric to custom-design over 700 pairs of shoes – the most shoes ever decorated at a single SYS event.

"I think everybody loved getting to be creative with their shoes," said Kara Dubose, advertising/public relations major from Roundrock. Her band, Thus Far, performed at the party.

Kris Evans, ACU director of strategic marketing, says Mycoskie's story aligns with the university's mission statement.

"Blake took his passion for helping others and love for business and built a successful company that has changed the future of thousands of children," says Evans. "At ACU, our goal is to give our students a strong base of knowledge in their chosen vocation and to encourage them to hear God's calling so they can go out and make a real difference the world. By exposing students to what Blake has done in Argentina -- or what Jared Brown has accomplished in Honduras, the Vanderpools in Haiti or the Copes in Ghana -- our hope is that our university mission will be imprinted on our students for life."