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Brad DeHays ’02 Address Opening Convocation
Brad Dehays

Brad J. DeHays ’02 delivered the keynote address of Muskingum University’s August 18 Opening Convocation ceremony, welcoming the incoming Class of 2027.

Brad encouraged the new students to embrace leadership, to take risks, and to care for themselves and others.

Students at ConvocationWelcome New Muskies!

“One of the best traits that I learned at Muskingum was to be a leader,” he said. “This is a small community. Followers can become leaders quickly. If you become a leader here at Muskingum, it translates everywhere. Here, you will learn how to really connect.”

He emphasized the importance of having goals and taking risks. “You have to make mistakes full speed,” he advised. “Disciplined risk taking is a life skill – you’ll learn that here at Muskingum. You’re going to fail. It’s OK…one thing that I always say is ‘failure is not a problem, but it can be a problem.’ Failure is contagious, as is success. Stay out of the negativity – staying positive makes people want to follow you. It will make you a better leader.”

“One of the greatest responsibilities you have is caring for yourselves and others,” he continued. “Take the time to understand those around you. Muskingum is a place where you will find friendships that last a lifetime.”

The Founder and President of commercial real estate development, investment, and property management firms Connect Real Estate and Connect Construction, Brad’s work is visible throughout the Columbus area.  He is known for creating unique urban infill projects for the benefit of the surrounding communities, transforming previously neglected spaces into first-class residential and commercial units.

Brad’s projects, such as the Columbus Trolley District, Coal Fired Power Plant, and Custom Coach facility, have modernized neighborhoods and stimulated economic development, while preserving the cultural and historic fabric of the local area. He serves on a number of Columbus-area boards and is a five-time recipient of the Business First “Power 100” award as one of central Ohio’s 100 most influential people.

Convocation SpeakersNew Concord Mayor Jennifer Lyle, Brad DeHays ’02, and President Sue Hasseler

Opening Convocation also featured a University Welcome from President Susan S. Hasseler, a Village of New Concord Welcome from New Concord Mayor Jennifer Lyle, and a Student Welcome from Student Senate President Alex Burton ’24. The historic Muskingum “Key Of Knowledge” was passed to the Class of 2027, which Alex accepted on their behalf.

Alex with the Key of KnowledgeStudent Senate President Alex Burton ’24 with the Key of Knowledge

Heather Dawson ’26 performed the Alma Mater “All Hail Muskingum.” Chaplain Derek Wadlington opened the ceremony with an Invocation.

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