August 19, 2005 by Jeany Llorente NMSU News Center
When Bradley Gordon, a 1978 New Mexico State University graduate, is asked to give advice on how to be successful, oddly the word failure makes it into the mix.
“Failure is one of the many steps on the road to success,” said Gordon, vice president of finance and corporate planning for Celgene Corp., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company.
And Gordon knows about mishaps and misfortune, disappointment and displeasure.
In the mid 1970s, Gordon found himself at a crossroads. Having been dismissed from three Midwestern universities, a career counselor asked him what he thought was a silly question: “Where do you want to go to graduate school?”
“I laughed because I couldn’t even finish my undergraduate work,” said Gordon.
The counselor advised Gordon to go to a school in New Mexico, where his previous grades would not be considered and he could start anew.
“New Mexico?” Gordon remembered saying. “Where is it? What’s it like and how long do I have to be there?”
He enrolled at NMSU, grew to appreciate the desert and finished his bachelor’s degree in business administration at NMSU in two and a half years and went on to get an MBA at the University of Southern California.
In appreciation for what he gained at New Mexico State, Gordon is donating 10,000 shares of Celgene stock, which has a current market value of close to $500,000, to the College of Business.
“The Bradley Gordon story is one of the most remarkable stories I have heard about,” said Garrey Carruthers, dean of the business college. “He was able to persevere and become a successful businessman, helping start several companies. For his many achievements, we are proud of both Bradley Gordon and New Mexico State.”
Carruthers said the college intends to establish a chair in marketing with Gordon’s gift and hopefully with a match from the state.
At New Mexico State “I learned to believe in my abilities and talents,” Gordon said in a telephone interview from his home in San Diego. “I learned to succeed.”
When he first arrived to Las Cruces, Gordon admitted he was a bit shocked. He was taken aback by all the cowboy boots, large belt buckles and the sea of cowboy hats.
“I really felt like a stranger in a strange land,” said Gordon, who grew up in Indiana. “I remember how desolate everything was. I was used to large buildings, not flat open land.”
Gordon said things began to turn around for him when he got to know the community.
“They were very warm, honest and genuine people,” he said. “The community really mirrored the countryside. The countryside in a way is very open and honest. The people, the landscape, the natural beauty and the school really won me over.”
“Really, I was reborn in Las Cruces,” Gordon said.
New Mexico State provided several things that schools he previously attended were not able to offer, such as the smaller, more intimate size classes.
“I was in classes with 35 students,” he said. “I got to know my instructors and they got to know me on a very personal level. They encouraged and engaged you. The professors knew you and they took an active interest in your growth and development. I also was surprised and impressed at the caliber of instructors, and the course material was very much on par with the larger schools.”
One of the many instructors Gordon had was Robin Peterson, a professor in marketing.
“He excelled both in receiving extremely high grades and in class participation. He was popular among the student ranks,” Peterson said. “Despite all his abilities, he was and remains a very nice guy, modest and unaffected.”
Celgene is an integrated global pharmaceutical company primarily engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies designed to treat cancer and immunological diseases through regulation of genomic and proteomic targets.