I went to a luncheon the other day, during which three amazing individuals were inducted into their (and my) University's Hall of Distinguished Alumni. A phenomenal professional musician who spent many years teaching the teachers of music, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, and a military hero who saved an ROTC program that went on to produce six Generals - three very different men, all of whose core values were solidified at the same place.
As I sat and listened to the acceptance speeches, the common theme was clear. This place, this plot of ground, and the men and women within its walls and on its lawns, made them all better people, gave each one a sense of family and common purpose, and made the three realize the importance of doing a job well without expectation of reward. Their true remuneration was in the way they impacted lives, in paying it forward to other generations.
I, being the big crybaby I am, choked up through the entire ceremony. And as I thought about how much I love my alma mater, I also reflected on how incredibly intertwined all of our lives are. The school gave me a sense of meaningful work and of loyalty to something larger than myself. Now, many years later, through this business I never would have foreseen ten years ago, I have the great blessing of reconnecting with friends from childhood and high school, and with their amazing parents, many of whom were part of my University.
So, in many ways, I have come full circle in my life. I almost literally grew up on a college campus, where people made a contribution to the lives of others each and every day. Now I am sometimes able to make a small
difference in the lives of some of those people, and it is not a gift to them. It is a gift to me, and I am grateful for it.
Photo Credit: Emily Gerard