Leadership Communique, 11/10/2013

Lessons in Leadership

Good morning to each of you. It is Sunday morning once again.

We are appreciative that Tom Emerick was able to join you those at the Tuesday session. His corporate experience is invaluable as relevant perspective for many of you will navigate corporate career paths.

You also had the opportunity to spend some time in the past days with Dr. John Barthell, UCO’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He is our chief academic officer and responsible for faculty and the academic curriculum. John coordinates with the deans of our colleges and directors of our special programs, such as ACM@UCO and the Forensic Science Institute, among others.

John has been a valued member of the UCO community for over 18 years, including 8 as a highly successful Dean of the College of Mathematics and Science. Among his many talents and accomplishments, John is well-known as a research biologist and a humanist with a strong philosophical orientation. He many have mentioned this to you, but John was a speaker at the annual Thoreau conference this past summer at Waldon Pond in Massachusetts. John is a valued colleague, a highly-regarded teacher and researcher and a collaborative leader. I guarantee that you will be enriched by your interaction with him, as with many of UCO’s accomplished and dedicated educators.

The panorama of activities and events here at UCO spends virtually every interest. This past week at “China Night”, our students offered an amazing array of cultural and musical talent to a packed Constitution Hall. The annual International Festival will fill the ballrooms at the Nigh this coming Thursday, November 14th from 11:00am – 2:30pm. Literally hundreds of our international students have prepared cultural displays, presentations and culinary delights from their countries and cultures spanning the globe. I encourage you to attend and to explore the rich variety of peoples and cultures and that are to be discovered here at UCO.

Last week we were also honored to host former US Ambassador John Limbert for a presentation and dinner. Amb Limbert is a 32-year career foreign service officer with extensive experience in the Middle East. His interest began whether served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran in the 1960s.

Amb Limbert appeared at UCO on the 34th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy in Tehran, Iran, a watershed date in US-Iranian relations and for the ambassador. He was among the 52 Americans held captive there for 444 days in Iran. They were released at the moment that President Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.

John Limbert presented an insightful overview of US-Iran relations and the importance to both countries and peoples to end this protracted period of estrangement. At this moment, there are historic contacts underway between Iran and the US and other nations on uranium enrichment and sanctions. This amount of direct contact has not happened since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Limbert does not believe that the two nations and peoples, which enjoyed amicable connections in the past, must remain implacable enemies.

His presence here at UCO offered our community a unique perspective on a serious issue.

In last week’s message, I included a comment from Mark Twain on “doing right”.

Here is another from the Hannibal, Missouri sage:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”.

This week you can span the globe right here at UCO Nigh Center on November 14th when we will enjoy the annual International Festival.

I hope our paths cross there. I wish each of you a marvelous week.

Don Betz