Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pretty phenomenal

I've just returned from back-to-back conferences of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association. The first conference was actually during Miami's spring break so it didn't interfere with work. ACPA overlapped Monday and Tuesday and then I came home early so that I could begin catching up Wednesday (today, March 22). I saw many, many good friends and colleagues over the last two weeks. It reminded me how rich and full my life is - richly filled with imaginative and committed professionals and full of support and encouragement. A picture of three of my most important life supporters is to the right/below - Linda Clement (University of Maryland), Ron Slepitza (Xavier University), and of course Diane (wife).

I had a pinnacle experience Monday when I received the Esther Lloyd-Jones Professional Service Award at ACPA. This was something that, in many ways, I don't feel I deserved. As a friend said to me - I should just enjoy it and be grateful so I will. I've spent a good deal of time studying Esther during my professional career. In addition, I've sought to bring her name back into regular discussion in student affairs work. It's deeply gratifying to hear her name more often these days. She was a woman of sweeping proportion and genius. She was one of the founders, if not the principle imagination, who inspired the work I am so blessed to fulfill. I was humbled and will never forget the moment that her presence became part of me - March 20, 2006. A picture of Susan Komives, the person who initiated my nomination for the award is to the left/below. Susan also received the ACPA Contribution to Knowledge Award this year as well as the NASPA award for the same.

During her memorial service on December 7, 1991, Donald Cutler, Esther's minister said of her, "I heard it said once that she wasn't necessarily at the superior level with respect to having common sense and I was reassured to hear it because I have precious little myself and cherish confirmation that one can survive, indeed prosper - without it. Her feminism was deep and balanced. Ahead of its time and not adversarial or bitter. Through her accomplishments one sees what a frequent mentor she was, and she bore the stuff of all great mentors -- that they are not competitive but rather luxuriate in the accomplishments of their proteges."

This memorial statement and the life Esther lived is an inspiration to me and I only hope to fulfill a small portion of the model of professional and personal presence Esther left as her legacy.

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