Home » Warren Buffett’s Advice to UNL 2020 Graduates (Full Transcript)

Warren Buffett’s Advice to UNL 2020 Graduates (Full Transcript)

Full text of Warren Buffett’s conversation with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green on the occasion of UNL 2020 graduation ceremony.

Notable quote from this conversation:

“There’s nothing that beats reading. Well, the truth is by reading, you can have lunch with Ben Franklin, or you know, every great personality in the history of the world.” – Warren Buffett

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:

TRANSCRIPT:

Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Hello? Hello, Warren.

Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Yeah.

Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

How are you doing?

Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Never better.

Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Well, I appreciate the opportunity to visit a little bit. You know, we’ve got another important graduation coming up kind of an unusual time that our students are graduating in, but they’re excited to be finishing their undergraduate and graduate degrees with your alma mater.

You were here, Warren, in the late 1940s, early 1950s and graduated in the Class of 1951. And I know the university has had a big impact on you and on your life.

So you might, might just start out by saying, what are some of your best memories of your time at the University of Nebraska?

Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

I enjoyed every minute of it at Nebraska. I mean, I don’t think they could quite believe it… after two years at the Wharton School, Pennsylvania, I said, I want to transfer to Nebraska.

And I came back, and the education I received at Lincoln…you know, Wharton had this big reputation but I had terrific professors there. They not only imparted knowledge to me, but just the rapport and feeling that I had with them.

And I would say this to this current year’s class, I would love to trade places with any of them. I mean, you know, they feel they’re going out into an uncertain world and all of that. But there’s never been a better time.

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Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Yeah. Yeah. Is there… Warren, is there a particular professor that you might fondly recall from that time when you were a student here in the College of Business?

Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Well, there were two of them that I really not only that I learned a whole lot from, but I just had a good time with them. And I’ve always liked accounting and I’d taken a few courses, a couple of courses probably at Wharton before I came.

But Ray Dein was the best, you know, you’ll ever see. And then accounting is the language of business, and it made me proficient as something that was absolutely vital for the rest of my life.

And I had the edge on lots of business school grads around the country because I had Ray as a teacher.

And of course, Doc Elliott’s class was absolutely fascinating. He was probably the most entertaining teacher while at the same time, delivering important ideas to it. Those two particularly stand out in my mind, but I would say this, there wasn’t a teacher I had there and that I really didn’t feel good about it.

Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

So Warren, I believe it’s true that your parents met here at the University of Nebraska. And what were their majors and how did they come to meet if you don’t mind telling that story?

Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Yeah, no, I owe my existence to the University of Nebraska. It doesn’t get more, it doesn’t get much more fundamental than that.

No. No, my dad was at The Daily Nebraskan and he was editor at one point. And my mother actually, her father went to the university as well, but he had a small paper in West Point. And she came to Lincoln and she was very interested in math but she also went in to get a job as a reporter at The Daily Nebraskan, and then met my dad. And that was a lucky day for me.

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A group of students from the university who came to an investing, a little get together I have with students a few years ago, they brought me the nicest book in the world they could have given me, I never would have dreamed of it. And had the front pages of The Daily Nebraskan for that period.

From my dad… I’ve gotten a lot of nice gifts in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a nicer one than that.

Now my dad, told me story, after story, after story, about university days at Lincoln.

Ronnie Green – Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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