New Castle County Executive Chris Coons Offers Students Some Wisdom
Web Editor - Published: October 12, 2009

New Castle County Executive Chris Coons speaks to students on the Delaware Campus as part of the Local Leaders series on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009.

“Say what you don’t know. Admit it and then go find the right answer. Don’t make it up because that will cost you your credibility, and you can’t get it back,” New Castle County Executive Chris Coons advised the students who gathered to hear him speak on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 7th.

Coons spoke to students, faculty, and staff as part of the ongoing Local Leaders series. The series, jointly sponsored by the Student Bar Association and the faculty, brings prominent area leaders to the school to speak about their experiences and offer their wisdom to students.

“I’m frankly thrilled to have a chance to be here with you,” said Coons before sharing a little bit about his personal journey and how his career path unfolded, from his childhood in Delaware, to his clinical experiences during law school, his work with non-profits upon graduation, his experiences in private practice, and ultimately his move to public service.

He spent most of the time taking questions from the audience. He took questions on how to realize political aspirations, how different his work for W.L. Gore & Associates was from his other jobs, what made him decide to run for public office, and the differences between the public and private sector. Asked to give his advice to students who might be looking for working in the near future, Coons urged the students in the audience to “be willing to try things you didn’t think you were going to do,” and to “be honest even in the smallest details.” He also noted that the political world resembled the job market, joking, “An election is just a job interview that takes a year and costs thousands of dollars.” Students in the audience gained a great deal from the event, and several of them eagerly thanked the New Castle County Executive for coming.

A Delaware native, Chris Coons graduated from Amherst College with a degree in Chemistry and Political Science. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and a Master’s Degree in Ethics from Yale Divinity School. He spent eight years as legal counsel for W.L. Gore & Associates before being elected New Castle County Council President in 2000. In 2005, he became New Castle County Executive.