Belief in self served Duane ‘D.C.’ Crenshaw ’91 well

Commencement speaker shares valuable lesson with graduating class

Duane “D.C.” Crenshaw learned a valuable lesson in 2008.

At the time, Crenshaw, who earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bowling Green State University in 1991, was a regional sales manager for a small biotech company, earning a good living.

“All this time later, I still consider my roommates and some of my former teammates my best friends and brothers for life. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the cold winters and harsh winds that would hit me in the face while walking to class. But I live in Chicago now, so I guess it’s no different.” Then, he and the other members of his sales team were told on a conference call that the company was being shut down.

The call couldn’t have come at a worse time. Crenshaw’s wife was three months pregnant with the couple’s first son. Even still, Crenshaw wasn’t worried because he had a great resume, good work experiences and contacts throughout the industry. Something would come up.

Only, that phone call never came, and he said it was the best thing, professionally, that ever happened to him.

That’s the message the Ohio native delivered to graduates of the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Development during commencement Saturday (Dec. 17) at the Stroh Center.

“I can’t believe that it’s been 25 years since I graduated from BGSU,” Crenshaw said. “I actually had to use my calculator in order to figure that out, so you know I’m either old or not good in math — probably both. But when I think back on the five years I spent here, I have nothing but great memories.

“All this time later, I still consider my roommates and some of my former teammates my best friends and brothers for life. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the cold winters and harsh winds that would hit me in the face while walking to class. But I live in Chicago now, so I guess it’s no different.”

Crenshaw said his decision to attend BGSU was the best one he ever made, followed by his resolution to go it alone in the business world.

“I really didn’t hit my stride until I became a full-time entrepreneur, which happened unexpectedly,” Crenshaw told the crowd. “After about a year, when I went on my very last interview, I realized I could no longer depend on someone to hire me. I had to do this on my own.”

Crenshaw, who played football at BGSU and for a few years in the Arena Football League, went on to become a food and lifestyle expert and a two-time Emmy-nominated television personality and executive producer. He is the CEO of Fete Business Group and publisher/editor-in-chief of Fete Lifestyle Magazine.

In the beginning, he organized and hosted themed events at Chicago’s newest restaurants to provide his members with unique dining experiences. Sixteen years later, Fete has evolved into a digital media and production company, partnering with various lifestyle brands such as BMW, Emirates Airlines, Hard Rock Hotel, Mugsy Jeans and Wansas Tequila to help develop, market and promote their products.

Crenshaw founded Fete Select TV, a media production company, in 2009 and created, hosted and executive-produced the television show “Game Time Dine.” Merging fine dining with professional athletes and airing regionally for two seasons on Comcast SportsNet, the show received two Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Sports-Related Show category.

He shared some advice with BGSU graduates that has served him well during his career, including “don’t let anyone define who you are; find your inspiration; don’t be afraid to fail; stay humble; and invest in yourself.”

“My reality is that you probably won’t remember me or my name 25 years from now, but I do hope you will take some of my advice and become a star in your own reality of life,” Crenshaw said before concluding his speech by taking a selfie with the Stroh Center crowd.