A Return to Lyceum: The Homecoming of Phil Canfield

Written by Christopher Hotchkiss

Between detailing his choice to attend UT as an undergraduate to giving financial advice to students, Mr. Canfield used his return to the classroom as an opportunity to inspire the students who are currently benefiting from his recent gift to the Canfield Business Honors Program.

Mr. Canfield started by explaining the impact that BHP had on him as a student. As an undergraduate in the honors program, he made lasting friendships and found a community that helped him during his early years in banking. He also described his perspective as a parent and the visit that motivated him to donate so generously to the program. 

Mr. Canfield believed that the BHP lacked the prestige other business schools heralded. He said prospective students often don’t realize the prestige of the program until attending an event or meeting the students, staff, and faculty who make the program so great. 

As the parent of a prospective student, Mr. Canfield attended Discover BHP, our annual welcome weekend event for admitted students. “Discover BHP blew me away,” he said. But he also felt that the reputation of BHP was not where it should be. This realization coupled with his own positive experiences in the program led him to make his naming gift. “If I want to do something for UT, I wanted to do it with BHP,” he said.

In addition to detailing his love for UT, Mr. Canfield took time to describe his career and the different aspects of it. Failure was something he made a point of highlighting because he believes failure is integral to every person’s development. “Successes don’t teach you anything, but failures teach you everything,” he shared. Furthermore, he said that the worst thing that can happen to a person is for them to only experience success over their first five years of working, as that period is a prime time for failures (and ultimately learning) to occur.

Finally, Mr. Canfield used this conversation as an opportunity to give advice to current students interested in finance and private equity. He took the time to answer questions about his rise to leadership within GTCR. With regards to stepping into a managerial role he shared, “You need to do what needs to be done when it is time to get it done.” Although he was speaking specifically about the working world and his experience, these were wise words to conclude his visit and encourage the next generation of Canfield Business Honors students.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *