Kent State Alumnus speaker talks to students about leadership, integrity and success

Alexis Cummins

Norbert “Nobby” Lewandowski, motivational speaker and Kent State University alumnus stood in front of a group of 15 Business Learning Community students on April 7 and began to sing “For Once in My Life” by Frank Sinatra into a plastic, toy microphone.

“I did that for one reason and one reason only, Lewandowski said. “I stutter.”

Lewandowski said he has had the speech impediment since he was about 5 years of age. Since realizing this he decided he could not go to school for something involving speaking so he chose to work hard as an athlete.  

In 1955 Lewandowski became the first to receive a baseball scholarship at Kent State.

“I don’t have a disability,” Lewandowski said. “I have a challenge.”

Lewandowski said you cannot change the hand you are dealt, but you can rearrange the way you play the card.

Eight months after becoming a Certified Public Accountant, Lewandowski said he was fired from his job because of his inability to communicate.

After being fired Lewandowski said he created a list of all the things he wanted to accomplish. One of the things on his list was to become a national public speaker.

Lewandowski said he asked himself, “How can you be a national public speaker, you can’t even talk.”

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can do and what you cannot do,” Lewandowski said. “Do what you want to do. Be what you want to be.”

Throughout the entire “Leadership, Integrity and Success” presentation, Lewandowski spoke of finding optimism, believing in your dreams and working hard.

Alonzo Burt, freshman business management major said Lewandowski’s saying, “If it is to be, it is up to me” really stuck out to him.

 “I feel like whatever happens really is up to you,” Burt said. “What you put forth and how hard you are willing to work. You can’t let anything become a barrier. You have to make your dreams happen.”

Academic Advisor, Amy Calapa planned the event for College of Business Administration students living in the Business Learning Community.

“We set up programs so that they can meet faculty, learn about majors and explore options,” Calapa said. “We offer a different variety of programs.”

Calapa said the Business Learning Community also offers community building experiences where students can build relationships.

As an upcoming event for Business Learning Community students there will be a business professional panel with recent Kent State alumni on April 16 at 7 p.m. in the Business Administration Building room 325.

For more information contact Calapa at [email protected] or visit

Contact Alexis Cummins at [email protected].