Cornell provided ‘balanced attack’

In sports and in business we focus on the importance of having a “balanced attack”—coaches or business leaders ensure that their teams are strong or balanced at all positions on the field or in the office, so that they are well-prepared to adapt to any situation on the field or in the market. As I look back at my time at Cornell College, I realize that Cornell and the liberal arts gave me the “balance” and perspective to be successful.

Eric Sudol
Eric Sudol ’03 is the director of Sponsorship Sales for the Dallas Cowboys. He graduated from Cornell College with a degree in economics and business, earned master’s degrees in business administration and sports administration from Ohio University, and has worked with professional sports teams, including the Cowboys and the Memphis Grizzlies, since 2005.

Family friends of my grandparents, Barbara Christiansen and her late husband Paul, introduced me to Cornell. After a couple of campus visits, I was intrigued by its unique course structure, storied history of academic and alumni success, and unmatched sincerity and care from the faculty and coaching staff. This intrigue led me to one of the best decisions of my life, one that was the cornerstone to my excelling in graduate school and my professional success.

At that time I did not know that I lacked balance, or that Cornell could provide me the tools to see the full spectrum. After all, I was not even sure what “liberal arts” meant or whether or not it was merely a buzzword the admission counselors, faculty, and coaches used when speaking to students. My limited view on college was simple: go to school, focus on a major, get through the additional courses the school forced me to take, and use the knowledge garnered in my major to obtain a successful job—a thought process I imagine is shared with many college-bound students.

After two blocks at Cornell my view of college changed, and I realized the value of the liberal arts. One of my professors indicated we were going to learn how to think, problem-solve, read, write, and be well-rounded in all disciplines. Many of the courses I was “forced” to take became my favorites and I relished the opportunity to learn a new discipline and tie everything together. My confidence grew as I learned how to think critically and solve problems regardless of the category. Equally important, I interacted with a diverse group of students from all areas of the United States and other countries, adding even more value to courses, athletics, and social interactions.

Without this well-rounded education, I never would have thought of graduate school, and without it, I never would have found my passion of working in the sports industry. I would not have been able to walk into an executive’s office with confidence and the business acumen to secure suites or sponsorship revenue for the Dallas Cowboys. The genesis was Cornell College.