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Monday, November 9, 2009

Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes Visits UF

Blake Mycoskie, the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, visited UF last week and spoke to students, faculty and community members. More than a thousand guests attended his lecture at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on November 4th to hear the story of TOMS shoes.

The company is known for its innovative One for One philosophy - TOMS Shoes donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased from the company. Mycoskie shared the story of how he started TOMS Shoes after going to Argentina and attending a shoe drive hosted by a local organization. He realized that charity alone would not be able to fund new shoes for these children and that relying on a giving business model would offer a better long-term solution.

Mycoksie encouraged students in the audience to follow their passion and look for companies that value service and sustainability when seeking a job. He also said setting a company goal with a higher purpose tends to attract dedicated and passionate employees. After Mycoskie's speech, the winning video of the UF Entrepreneurship and Innovation Video Contest was announced and debuted at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

In conjunction with his visit and speech, the Office of Sustainability held a Style Your Sole event at the Reitz Union Colonnade on Wednesday, November 3rd. During this event, students and faculty purchased canvas TOMS Shoes to decorate with paint, glitter, markers and more. Student organizations are planning another Style Your Sole event and an airing of the TOMS Shoes documentary at the Reitz Student Union during the third week of November.

The series of events in conjunction with Mycoskie’s visit was sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, ACCENT, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UF MBA, the Center for Leadership and Service, Gators Going Green and New Student Programs.