Ronald Tutor, whose name graces both the Ronald Tutor Campus Center and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Tutor Hall, shared his experience in a talk to USC students on Thursday night at the Campus Center.
After graduating from the USC Marshall School of Business in 1963, Ronald Tutor dedicated his entire career to the construction industry. He currently serves as president, CEO and chairman of Tutor-Saliba Corporation, and chairman and CEO of Tutor Perini Corporation.
Organized by the Marshall Business Network, Tutor’s speech attracted many students who are trying to start their own business careers and others who recognized his name from USC buildings.
“Since we have seen his name on campus every day, we are curious about who he really is,” said Alex Curiel, president of the Marshall Business Network.
Tutor discussed his own path after graduation in an attempt to inspire students thinking about what to do after USC. Coming from a low-income family living in the San Fernando Valley, Tutor said he was fascinated with the football culture at USC and enjoyed every minute of college. Fraternity experiences also made him realize that to stand out from his peers, he needed to be competitive and self-disciplined.
After working his way up the ladder in the construction industry for most of his life, Tutor came to some conclusions about how to make it in the profession.
“Playing everybody straight is the direct course to get success,” Tutor said. “Integrity brings in trust, and trust directs you to bigger achievements.”
Life, however, wasn’t always easy for Tutor. In 1972 he almost went bankrupt, but he filed a lawsuit and fought hard to eventually earn his fortune back.
“When you have no choice, just do whatever you have to do,” Tutor said.
Tutor said he learned a lot through trial and error and that making mistakes is part of life.
“Just learn from them and guarantee you never make the same mistake twice,” he said.
Tutor admitted the world has become much more complex now, but as long as students are smart, hardworking and ambitious, they will be successful.
“His experience makes me feel more connected to him,” said Tyler Soosman, a junior majoring in business administration. “He’s like us, starting from an ordinary graduate and worked hard to achieve all these.”
Tutor also used to be in the film industry but is “stepping out.” Earlier this year he sold his stake in Miramax. Tutor said focus is what makes him different and that focusing on the construction industry is what made him successful.
Tutor has been a longtime benefactor of USC and said that the university also gave him invaluable memories and experience.
“What I can do is to make it a better place,” he said of the university.
Many students said they found Tutor’s speech to be a meaningful one.
“His personality inspires us that everyone has the potential to be great by doing the right thing,” said Zach Miller, a sophomore majoring in accounting.