Month: October 2012

Chuck Harrison Presentation

During Chuck’s presentation he discussed a number of topics relating to hard work, commitment and people. He mentioned the age old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Do you feel that this is currently the case in society. Are connections the most important aspect for success, is knowledge, maybe a combination of both? What do you think and explain why.

UCO’s Homecoming Week and our nation moves toward Decision 2012


Good morning.

This is the last Sunday in October with the promise of daylight savings time less than a week away. Soon we will see dawn earlier, but we will be heading home in the dark by early evening. The proliferation of pumpkins everywhere reminds us that seasonal change is once again here.

This is also the official start to UCO Homecoming Week. As I write this to you, students and staff teams are launching the decoration of campus and community highlighting this year’s theme, “All You Need Is Central!” (Can you hear the Beatles melody?). The events commenced this weekend and continue through next Saturday. I encourage you to be part of this annual celebration of the traditions, history and future of our university. It is a time when alumni and former students return to meet with current students, friends, organization members and teammates from years past. It is an opportunity to demonstrate the ongoing transformation of UCO and to present our plans for the future. So put on your UCO gear, get involved in some of the groups who are producing this multi-faceted celebration, and savor the sense of being a valued member of the Central family.

Today also marks the beginning of the final full week of Campaign 2012. The country has been submerged in political campaigning, ads, claims and counterclaims from hundreds of candidates seeking election or confirmation as incumbents. Literally billions of dollars will have been spent by hopefuls seeking positions from president to local officials throughout our country. Americans, well many but not all Americans, will decide dozens of state questions, states legislators and other officials, the entire US House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and 12 governorships and who will be president for the next four years just one week from this Tuesday. The world has been watching this year’s campaigning in the world’s oldest democracy with focused interest. What happens here impacts others far away as well as across this country.

A key message found in every successful democracy is involvement. At UCO we continually speak of the importance of engagement as essential training and experience for future success as an individual, community, state and country. One of most fundamental expressions of that vital involvement is voting, conscientious voting, on the issues and for the candidates that can best and most selflessly serve the citizens of their communities, state and nation. Be active and involved as the American electorate steps forth to help determine the future.

Recently, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke in Oklahoma. Mr Gates has served as a Cabinet level secretary for both Republican and Democrat presidents. When asked about the optimum qualifications of those seeking the highest office in the land, he offered this perspective. He believes that the experience and resumes of the past are not the defining characteristics for success as president. For Gates, it is character and temperament that are critical. He is speaking about precepts of leadership and the quality of the person who will face unanticipated challenges, some of the highest magnitude that will eclipse any planning or previous experience, that will frame the possibilities for success. Integrity, trust, the capacity to listen, understand and communicate from a base of leadership and service are all relevant to the elected candidates ability to truly lead and serve. Gates’s counsel is worth remembering as we move deeper into this unprecedented period of challenge and change.

I look forward to seeing you at Homecoming activities throughout the week, at the parade and game on Saturday, and on election night at the planned campus watch party in the Nigh University Center. From several perspectives, history will be written on November 6th. After all ballots are cast for all races and issues, we must emerge as Oklahomans and Americans committed to the seamless transitions of power and authority and to a fair and free society.

May this be a most enlightening and engaged week for you.

I believe in you. You are the change. You will one day guide us through the next phases of our continuing growth and development as a state and a country.

Take care,

Don Betz

Milt Heflin Presentation

During Milt’s time at NASA he shared several moments when missions were not successful. As individuals we will have moments filled with obstacles, disappointment and sometimes failure. How do we manage these moments when best laid plans are not successful, particularly if you were in a position of leadership during this moment?

Approaching a defining election

Good morning to all of you,

I am at a distance today, but this technology allow me to connect with you as if we were on the campus today.

I was truly pleased that Denise Northrup, Governor Mary Fallin’s Chief of Staff, was able and willing to spend time with you. Denise is an a pivotal political position in Oklahoma as she has the Governor’s ear and access to her likely more than anyone. She told me that she enjoyed her time with you. I will be interested in the impressions you have of her comments. Once the new legislative session draws closer to opening in January, Denise will be completely focused on her myriad duties as the Governor brings forth her budget proposal to the convening legislature. There is also a perspective we need to share regarding her position. She and Governor Fallin exemplify the increasingly central role that women play in political, civic, business and educational leadership. Issues of access and opportunity to lead for women have changed in an historic manner over the past few decades.

Our country draws closer to the November 6th national, state and local election date. With just one more presidential candidate debate remaining, the President and Governor Romney appear to be about even. American presidents are elected by the Electoral College with each state having electoral votes equal to their current representation in Congress. The disposition of those votes is based on the popular vote in each state. It is possible for someone to be elected president only by winning the electoral college majority of 270 and actually lose the popular vote. This rare scenario is now being tossed about among political insiders and media analysts as the race has tightened to a near dead heat. Our unique election model focuses attention and gives enhanced influence to a handful of key states whose popular vote outcome remains unclear. Keep an eye on Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, and pivotal Ohio. The various combinations of winning or losing these states could spell the difference in a second term for the president or the election of Governor Romney. This race appears to be closer than most in our history.

Also note that our citizens will be electing the full House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, governors in selected states and state legislatures around the country. The world’s oldest democracy is about to end the months of speculation and posturing by going to vote. And after all the shouting and all the prognostication, power in the USA will be reaffirmed or will pass peacefully to another leader. Make sure you are among thosemwhomcast their ballot on or before November 6th.

The world beyond UCO and Oklahoma continues to grapple with issues of serious consequence. Syria, whose civil war has been waging since March of 2011, took a mean turn this week and spilled over into newborns, vulnerable Lebanon. There, in the cosmopolitan capital city of Beirut, the chief of Lebanese security, known to be opposed to the Syrian President Assad, was assassinated in a huge bomb explosion that tore apart a Beirut neighborhood with at least 100 wounded. This story is not over, and will influence US policy choices.

We are closing on UCO’s Homecoming Week. This is a marvelous time at the university with multiple events, parade, the football game and many opportunities to welcome back our alumni and demonstrate our pride. Get involved and enjoy the festivities.

Take care this week and I always look forward to seeing you.

Don Betz

Denise Northrup Presentation

Denise discussed several items including building a great team for success. As the semester has continued and you have moved forward with group projects, what role do you feel that you have maintained on your team? Do you feel like this is the role that you consistently experience and perform?

Remembering our past and crafting our future

Hello to each of you.

It is Fall Break Sunday.

I hope these few days have offered you opportunities to pursue required projects and some refreshing recreation. You still have this stunning day to make the break memorable.

We Americans, as a nation of diverse nationalities, look to anniversaries of national importance as a way of re-enforcing our connections with one another, of securing our identity as one people. For example, much is being written and images re-created of the American Civil War these days about 150 years after the four devastating years when the USA suffered more casualties by far than all other wars combined, and we did it to ourselves. Figures quoted this morning on CNN’s GPS program noted that 2.5% of the US population died, the equivalent of 7 million people today. Unimaginable numbers for us today with consequences still being discerned and debated. As was noted in the program, it was Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address that helped define and unite us as a Nation in the wake of a conflict that so divided us.

A more contemporary event highlighted this month is the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Many historians and analysts conclude that it was during those days of October and November that the world came closest to the global nuclear war. Its specter hung over the globe for over the 40 years of the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union and their allies. Much has been written about those tense hours and days in 1962, and about the high stakes analyses and planning that consumed both President Kennedy and his team as well as Soviet Premier Khrushchev. Recent investigation is pointing more to the success of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy and moderating, compromising decisions than the saber-rattling and “waiting for the other side to blink” dimensions of the crisis that were the focus as the situation unfolded in public. Some analysts believe that the crisis marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, though it would be almost three decades before the Soviet Union would dissolved from the inside and the global political landscape would change in unprecedented ways..all without the clash of the armies that had been poised across from one another in Europe. This is a 50 year remembrance of events whose outcomes were positive, and players are to be recalled with a combination of admiration and gratitude.

This week the US presidential debates will continue. Last week the vice presidential candidates met in front of the American and global publics and sparred on a broad range of issues. Political scientists are often divided on assessing the impact of these face-to-face encounters, but the data does indicate that many people do watch or listen. These debates may prove to be more consequential the closer the race is and the more undecided a particular subset of Americans are. All current indicators point to a tight contest. The Electoral College emerges as even more central to success as the election could be won or lost in a handful of states among a small number of voters.

Whatever your candidate preferences are, local and national, you need to be an active member of the attentive public and vote. It is one of the fundamental precepts of our political system and our rights/responsibilities as citizens. November 6th is election day, and you can arrange for an absentee ballot in advance should casting your vote on that Tuesday prove problematic.

Expect an evening and night of political drama as the polls begin to close in the eastern parts of our country while the west, Alaska and Hawaii have hours still to vote.

See all of you soon. Homecoming is almost upon us. I look to seeing you at some of the many events and activities.

I wish you a week of discovery and success.

Take care,

Don Betz