After months of campaigning, the week of decision; Homecoming applause.

Good morning to each of you

It is the Sunday before Election Tuesday here in the United States. After thousands of campaign ads, countless commentaries appearing in every conceivable format, and billions of dollars spent to convince the American voter about candidates and issues, it all is reduced to what each voting citizen thinks, believes and hopes for as he/ she marks the ballot.

As we have stated here earlier, the focus is on the election of the President in one of the most hotly contested races in recent memory. With so many official and unofficial sources of opinion, campaign rhetoric and hype, it seems at times that the most sane way to proceed is to consider quietly what we know, what we believe is at stake, and who can serve as a guide and leader in this acknowledged time of challenge and change. Recall that former Sec of Defense Robert Gates recently counseled in a recent Oklahoma presentation that resumes and experience in leadership positions may not be as important as character and temperament. Trust, as we all know, is a critical factor in any organization, and the bond that connects leadership with those they serve.

Beyond the selection of our next president, Tuesday will also decide the composition of the entire US House, a third of the Senate, a dozen governorships and all the states legislatures. There are hundreds of questions on the states’ ballots, including here in Oklahoma, where the voting citizens will directly decide the fate of various issues. This election is multi-leveled and mult-faceted, and it comes at a time of continuing economic and political challenge, both at home and abroad.

Again, I encourage you to exercise the right and responsibility of our citizenship and be an active, informed voter this week. Many in the USA and here in Oklahoma have already voted via absentee and early voting options. But most of us will make our way to a local polling station, likely in our neighborhood, and freely exercise this right to choose leadership and direction nationally and locally, a right not enjoyed by many in other parts of our world. And, regardless of the outcome, in America, power passes smoothly and seamlessly. Our enduring institutions are the backbone of our stability and prosperity. Beyond political differences, most Americans cherish the values and civility enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with its attendant Bill of Rights.

Whatever the outcome, the election results will be debated and analyzed in every conceivable way. The American people will have spoken. What did we say? What does it mean? We may beset by the “paralysis of analysis”. Whether it will be President Obama or President Romney, a key ingredient for successfully meeting the challenges of rapid and disruptive change will be the support of the people and the leadership’s accountability to them. That accountability is a key tenet of effective democratic systems.

I cannot close today without major applause and thanks to all who produced such an outstanding UCO Homecoming Week experience for so many. I want to expressly thank Student Affairs and Dr. Kathryn Gage, the overall leadership and organizational skills of Courtney James, the professional efforts of Jillian Goodman, Kiyana Baird, Development and Alumni Affairs,Athletics, Facilities Management, IT, University Relations, The Nigh Center, Campus Police,and so any others who should be listed here by name. I believe one of the keys to the success evident all around was, you, our students and your unlimited enthusiasm, creativity and energy. The Cheer competition event at Hamilton this year is emblazoned in my mind not to be quickly forgotten. As I watched the evening unfold, I kept thinking that there is nothing we can’t accomplish with such a reservoir of collaborative, creative, disciplined talent.

As I have told you before, I believe in you.

Be an active citizen this week and vote.

Take care,

Don Betz