It is Sunday of Thanksgiving holiday.
By now you are likely uninterested in another turkey sandwich or leftover dressing. I hope your days away from your usual routine were at least a bit relaxing, and that you made new memories with family and friends. I know that many of you are deep into term projects and that final exams are only a few weeks away.
During this abbreviated week, we were fortunate to have had time with Jari Askins, Oklahoma’s former Lt. Governor and public service veteran who has held leadership posts in all three branches of Oklahoma government. She was the last Democratic nominee for Governor, and joined Mary Fallin in creating Oklahoma history as the only gubernatorial race between two women.
Jari’s lessons for us included adapting and adjusting to changes that she could not control. Each opportunity offered her choices, and her pathway is the result of those choices over a lifetime. She is a passionate advocate for education as a transformational process that affects you, your family, and community, now and in the future. Jari’s life and work offers us an example of the challenging yet fulfilling nature of service, in her case, highly successful and appreciated public service. Her story reminds us that the most meaningful gift we can offer other is often ourselves in ways that benefit others. In her current role at the OU Health Science Center, she is actively leading efforts to support the breakthrough cancer research underway there. I was delighted that she was able to join us.
Though it was Thanksgiving here in the USA, the global swirl of challenges and crises did not subside. There is some hope right now in the ceasefire involving Israel and Gaza that brought eight days of violence and loss of life, property and opportunity to an end. The role of Egypt in effecting this cessation is being applauded even as the Egyptian president Morsi curtailed the power of the Egyptian courts this week and provoked protests among his critics. The volatility of the region continues on multiple levels. All of it impacts the US and its interests in the area.
I believe that we have two more L in L guests this term, lawyer Doug Terry and Journal Record publisher Mary Melon. Both of them are eager to be with you and to make a connection with you. These will be substantive programs. Please know that you can contact our guests after their sessions. I think you will find them to be most responsive. They, like us, believe in the value of intentionally growing the next generation of leaders for our communities, state, and country.
Sometime today we will turn our attention back to the activities and demands before us as we move toward the conclusion of this fall semester. This is a time both of distraction and opportunity. Your diligent efforts over many weeks since August now become focused on closing the semester in a most successful and rewarding way. It is time to confirm the results of your work and study.
We are now officially in the extended holiday season. I look forward to seeing you at the many events at hosted at the university. The next three weeks will flash by all of us.
In the most of all these demands, remember that we believe in you, and in your unique abilities to make a difference and be the difference, individually and as team of learners, leaders and servers.