The focus was on entrepreneurship and the economy when Sam Wyly, Louisiana Tech alumnus and billionaire, visited with President Dan Reneau, the Tech community and area residents in the Student Center.

Wyly, who recently published ‘1,000 Dollars & an Idea,’ came to his alma mater Wednesday to share his inspirational story with students and the community and also discussed the economic crisis facing the country.

Sam Wyly and Dan Reneau discuss Wyly’s new book, ‘1,000 Dollars & an Idea.’

‘It looks like a lot of bankers have gotten themselves into a lot of problems,’ said Wyly, who was born in Lake Providence and raised in that town and Delhi. ‘Whether or not the government should do something major, I don’t know.’

Wyly said the problem seems to have stemmed from real estate issues and has seeped to other major financial institutions.

‘America is so deep, so strong,’ he said. ‘The financial section has gotten too big in the last 20 years. The financial section is going to get downsized anyway, whether the federal government does something or not.’

He added that the market had predicted this downfall.

‘It’s plain old Economics 101,’ Wyly said. ‘Study what’s going on in the market and see what it’s going to lead to. Now we’ve got this big banking crisis for the federal government to wrestle with. It was predicted (in the market) a couple of years ago.’

Sam Wyly signs copies of his new book in the Student Center.

Wyly also discussed entrepreneurship with budding economic students.

‘There is opportunity in all sorts of industries,’ he said. ‘I have lately been watching clean air through clean energy with Green Mountain Energy. I see huge growth for that, but really, opportunity is everywhere.’

Green Mountain Energy is the nation’s leading provider of cleaner commercial and residential electricity and carbon offsets. Wyly has also been the cornerstone of success for internationally respected companies as University Computing, Sterling Software, Sterling Commerce, Earth Resources, Gulf Insurance, Bonanza Steakhouses, Michaels Stores, and Maverick Capital and Ranger Capital.

Wyly is one of Forbes magazine’s 1,000 wealthiest people in the world, Reneau said, and mentioned several donations Sam Wyly and his brother Charles have made to Tech, which have led to the creation of Wyly Tower, Wyly Athletic Center, the F. Jay Taylor Endowed Chair of Journalism, as well as several professorships and scholarships.

‘Sam Wyly has truly lived the American Dream,’ Reneau said. ‘Welcome home, Sam. Welcome back home.’

Written by Judith Roberts