fredwsmith-e1406607364363-750xx302-402-63-0One of the most powerful CEO’s in the Southeast was on hand to speak at the University of Mississippi yesterday. FedEx founder Fred Smith addressed students at the school’s Fall Convocation for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

The keynote was held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Netscape Communications Corp. founder and CEO James Barksdale introduced Smith.

The event was free and open to the public. The Honors College is celebrating their 20th anniversary after it was started by a $5.4 million endowment from the Barksdale family in 1997.

Smith founded FedEx with $4 million of his money in 1971. They began servicing 25 cities in 1973 and have grown into a global shipping giant.

In 2004, Chief Executive Magazine named him CEO of the Year. He received the Kellogg Award for Distinguished Leadership by the Kellogg School of Management in 2008.

Smith is currently chair of the Business Roundtable’s Security Task Force and is a member of the Business Council and the Cato Institute. He is a former chairman of the board of governors for the International Air Transport Association and the U.S. Air Transport Association.

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