Lessons in Leadership
It is a cold morning in Edmond with the promise of winter weather today. Be aware as you venture out as conditions could change even as you move about.
This is an abbreviated week at UCO. The Thanksgiving holiday begins on Wednesday, though I am confident you need not be reminded as you are fully aware of this welcomed break in the demands of the semester.
Richard Ogden, a prominent Oklahoma City lawyer and Chair of UCO governing Board of Regents, will be this week’s L in L guest leader. UCO is one of six regional universities in Oklahoma which comprise the Regional University System of Oklahoma(RUSO). All were originally normal schools, institutions dedicated to the training of teachers. Each has evolved over the past 100 years to become comprehensive universities. UCO, originally Central Normal, is the largest institution in the system.
Richard is active in the development of The Oklahoma City metro are and the state. He is highly engaged in his role as Regent and has developed a strong interest in UCO. We appreciate his leadership and welcome him to L in L. I encourage you to connect with him after his remarks. He is particularly focused on student achievement and success.
This past Tuesday, many of you participated in the Creative Oklahoma Forum, a day devoted to the cultivation and encouragement of creativity in its myriad forms. I have served on the Board for the parent organization, Creative Oklahoma, Inc., for years, and have watched the state’s interest in imagination, creativity and innovation grow to include supporters from education, commerce and government.
We believe that cultivating creativity is vital to Oklahoma’s development. I have attended parallel creativity forums in other countries, and I am encouraged by the efforts and energies here to stimulate and support Oklahoma’s creative future. We believe that creativity and prosperity are tightly linked, and that we should nurture a culture of creativity here in our state which will serve the interests of our citizens, but also attract interest and investment from other parts of the USA and abroad.
I am keenly interested in your sense of the day and the component parts of the program. Your input is relevant and important to me and to UCO. Tell me, Jarrett and Marissa what you think.
What did you find stimulating, informative, inspirational? For you, was it a day well spent? UCO makes an investment to insure your attendance, and your feedback is valuable. I was pleased that we were able to corral most of us for a UCO Creativity photo after the luncheon and address by the Rwandan ambassador to the USA. When available, we will share that group picture with all of you.
In my message last Sunday, I discussed some of the legacy of President John Kennedy as a prelude to the 50th anniversary of his assassination last Friday. The outpouring of reflections and memories over these days has been remarkable and indicative of the enduring impact this young president had on the people of his time and long afterwards. He is frozen forever at age 47 with a thousand days of leadership service as president.
He was a defining influence on the people at the time, especially young citizens here and abroad who responded to him with a powerful sense of service. This past week dozens of programs, special publications and commentaries have probed his life and death and analyzed why we still care a half century he was struck down. For many his legacy is to be found in the good works done by volunteers, government officials and political leaders over these decades. They are the change he championed.
And so are you. Part of the rationale that spawned UCO’s leadership programs and those found at many other universities was a response to Kennedy’s call to public service, in whatever form it may take. Your volunteer work while you are here at UCO springs from the same tradition. From the tragedy of his death has arisen an unshakable belief among many that we can and must grow the next generations of servant leaders.
At UCO we strive to create a culture of learning, leading and serving. Such commitments trace their evolution to President Kennedy. This a part of the leadership experience here that is designed to serve you as you, in turn, take up your leadership roles in society.
We invest in you because we believe in you.
May you have marvelous days of Thanksgiving with your families and friends. It will be December when you return with the semester’s end clearly in sight.
My best wishes to you and your families,