Politics are a great deal like the game of baseball. Both require people to come together as a team in order to reach a greater goal. Baseball and politics are both fundamental pieces of American culture that are entwined into our history and folklore. But there is another similarity that may go unnoticed to the untrained eyed. Baseball and politics both require a degree of bravery. Batters have to be brave enough to dig in their cleats and bear down as a pitched ball moves rapidly towards them, often unpredictably. Politicians, on the other hand, must be able to stand up to the slings and arrows that often come in the form of public attacks on their beliefs or ideas. This is certainly a task that requires bravery.
For Urbana University alumnus Bruce Hull ‘76, entering the world of politics was never about showcasing his bravery; it was about the potential to make a difference in people’s lives.
“Some individuals believe they can make a difference and that has always been my philosophy.”
It was this idea that was the basis behind Bruce’s recent campaign for Greene County Commissioner. Although Bruce came up short in his bid, finishing close in the primary elections, he was proud of his efforts and now draws connections between his experiences at Urbana University and his experiences in politics.
“I was always really involved. I played baseball, wrestled, and played soccer from 1972 until 1976. I was on student government and also managed the Hub, which at that time Student government was an elected position.”
It was that position that showed Bruce that he had the ability to use his ideas to make a difference.
“When I came into the manager position, the Hub was losing money. I was able to turn it around. I made specials and brought in live music every week. This was my first business experience; it felt good when the Hub started making money”.
Bruce loved his time as manager of the Hub, but it never would have happened if he had not made the decision to attend Urbana University. He credits a community member from his hometown of Xenia, Ohio for guiding him toward UU.
“I was considering several other schools, but I really liked the small town feel of campus. I liked how everyone knew everybody. And back then, you didn’t just know people; you KNEW people!”
Bruce’s success in business did not end with the Hub. He has a knack for being a businessman and enjoys being competitive; something he credits to his time at Urbana. Bruce has had a long and successful career as a State Farm insurance agent, and used his business mindset on the campaign trail.
“If there was an opportunity to place signs, I would place four to my opponent’s one. I was able to co-brand my campaign with the agency’s color of red. That was a strategic move.”
Bruce’s business background didn’t alleviate all the challenges of running for public office. As with any new endeavor, there were obvious hurdles to overcome.
“I had to answer ‘Who are you?’. I had to identify what I stood for. I had to market myself, which I’ve done for years in business, but not on a large scale like the campaign required.”
Now that it is all over, Bruce looks back on his efforts and is proud of them. His efforts have been recognized by others; he wants to participate in the Xenia Downtown Revitalization program. He learned a great deal from this experience and now is happy to provide advice to others who may consider running for office.
“I would encourage others to start by getting involved on a grass roots level. It will show you the amount of work necessary to run for office. Also, I encourage others to volunteer. People can make a difference even if it’s small.”
Bruce showed that he had the courage to take a leap of faith and run for public office. His success in the business world and his continued involvement in the community are things that he continues to be proud of. Bruce believes that many of his victories in life can be attributed to the time that he spent at 579 College Way.
“Urbana really gave me a foundation for a wonderful life. When you go to a small college, you have to learn how to get along with people. You learn communication skills. It makes you authentic.”
Bruce Hull certainly is authentic, and authenticity is a theme that shines through when you are a Blue Knight.
Bruce is pictured above in a family photo (from left to right): Kristen, Brian, Bruce, Brad, and Kyle.
By Tom Alexander
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Founded in 1850, Urbana University is a private, not-for-profit institution that offers educational opportunities and college degree programs to learners around the world and throughout the state of Ohio, including the cities of Urbana, Bellefontaine, Columbus, Dayton, Fairborn, London, Marysville, Piqua, Sidney, Springfield, and Troy.