A Time to Gather Together

Good Sunday evening to all of you,

We will begin our week with the joyful news that Jarrett is recovering and plans to return to UCO and Lessons in Leadership during this coming week.

I know that many of you have connected with him and held him in your thoughts and prayers. I have no doubt that these expressions of support are of inestimable value and meaning to him as moves along the journey of recovery.

In one way , it is a lesson in leadership. Communities converge when a member is injured or otherwise in need of broad support. Thank you for rallying around him.

This coming week will mark the 11th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Most of you were likely about 7 to 11 years old that day when airliners made in the USA became fearful weapons turned upon us in New York, Washington, D.C., and due to the courage of the third plane’s passengers, into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

We will gather as a university community on Tuesday morning to remember those who were lost that day AND to honor the courage of the countless men and women who risked everything to help others.

As a community, we will plant American flags around Broncho Lake in what for me last year was a stirring moment that combined symbolism with direct action. Once again, Student Affairs and the Volunteer Center will lead us in reaching out to the public servants in our communities with food and sincere expressions of gratitude for all our police, fire, emergency rescue and other vital service providers who are there when we need them the most. This week, tell them that you and we honor and value their lives of service. They model the way for us all. I look forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday morning at Broncho Lake.

We are now less than two months away from Election Day 2012. In many ways, it seems as if the campaigns, the rhetoric, the claims, and counter claims have been part of our daily lives for years.

It is imperative that you understand the issues, both local and global, to the best of your abilities, and that you exercise one of the treasured aspects of genuine democracies, namely, that you get involved in ways that suit you, and that you vote. Do not succumb to the false argument that one vote, your vote, does not matter. That is precisely what some want you to believe. Nothing is more essential to the foundation of viable democracies than an informed and engaged citizenry. This means you. One of the premises of UCO’s long-standing commitment to and promotion of leadership development has been to prepare the next generations of citizens and leaders. Again, this means you.

We believe in you.

So be sure you are registered to vote. It is instructive to realize that among the most consistent voters in America are naturalized citizens, those who have come to the USA and earned their citizenship, rather than acquired it as a matter of birth. Their sense of citizenship has often been inspiring for many of us.

The global spotlight will be on the USA in a particularly focused way as we move closer to November 6th. Elections are our individual and collective expressions of our belief that we are responsible for the governments we have, and that being a citizen confers both rewards and responsibilities. We will discuss this as we proceed into the fall.

My best wishes for a most illuminating and successful week.

Take care,

Don Betz