Thursday, 6 November 2008

Be careful of...

Given the momentous events of the last few days, there were several things in the last talk of EDUCAUSE which had particular relevance.

It was given by Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and he was inspirational – there were many IT Directors in the audience who left wishing that he was their President/Vice Chancellor.

He told us the story of his grandmother who as an African American growing up in the Southern US (I think it was Alabama) couldn’t vote. Eventually non-whites were given the opportunity to vote, but had to take a literacy test, and he read out 3 sample questions and asked us to raise our hands if we knew the answers. Given that the questions were on the American constitution, I didn’t know any of them – but nether did any of the Americans in the audience! Based on the results, there would have been a very small turnout on Tuesday. It was his grandmother’s overriding wish to be a voting American citizen, so she had to take the test. It took several failed attempts and weeks of revising the American constitution, but she became a voting citizen at the age of 73. His message – don’t take your right to vote lightly – exercise it!

His final comments (which he made us learn and recite back to him)…

Be careful of your thoughts, they become your words.
Be careful of your words, they become your actions
Be careful of your actions, they become your habits
Be careful of your habits they become your character
Be careful of your character, it becomes your destiny

A video of the session is here

OK – that’s the last EDUCAUSE post – normal service will be resumed next week when I leave the beautiful Lake District and get back to work.

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