People are inspired not by people who have only experienced success, but by people who have known failure and succeeded in spite of it.
That’s the message high school dropout, turned millionaire and entrepreneur extraordinaire Bobby F. Griffin will share with Bluefield College students during a lecture on campus, Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m.
Open to the community in BC’s Harman Chapel, the Griffin visit is part of BC’s weekly convocation series designed to teach, encourage, inspire and bless students and the community at-large through speakers and performers with professional and spiritual expertise.
A native of Bristol, Virginia, Griffin will share a little bit of both during his April 6 discourse. Limited by a learning disability, he dropped out of high school at the age of 17 after completing only the ninth grade. Faced with few options, he enlisted in the United States Army and went to Korea, where he was wounded during active duty.
Back home, he faced an economy with no need for a high school dropout, but driven by a purpose statement from theologian and philosopher Albert Schweitzer that, “It isn’t what happens to the man that counts, but what the man does about what happens that matters most,” Griffin persevered. Determined not to let his past or current circumstances shape his future, he demonstrated uncommon courage and character that allowed him to realize his dreams.
“Every time I felt discouraged, I would pray and the Lord would renew my self-confidence,” Griffin said about his challenges and setbacks in life. “I believe that is what really made the difference. Being a Christian does not guarantee a person success in business, but it does give you an inner assurance to make something of yourself. Regardless of your situation, background or education, with God-given self-confidence, you can make it.”
In fact, Griffin developed and launched several businesses from scratch, building them into multi-million dollar enterprises. His most lucrative and well-known venture: the invention of a disposable auto advertising floor mat he patented in 1968.
Today, he owns and operates a shopping center, several car washes, an advertising company, a printing business, retail clothing, a promotional products company, and a variety of real estate. In addition, he conducts research and development for new products and serves on a collection of college boards.
His honors and awards include Personality of the South in 1979 and Who’s Who in Leading American Executives in 1990. He also holds honorary doctorate degrees from Emmanuel Baptist Seminary in Shelby, North Carolina, and Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. And, in May 2010 he was awarded the Veterans Honorary High School Diploma by the Virginia Board of Education.