In My Own Words
Thoughts on Education, Artistry, and Leadership

My blog includes my #BuildingBetterBrains project, articles I've been invited to contribute, and remarks from events at which I have been asked to speak, in addition to comments written specifically for my web audience.

Please send your comments and critiques; they are always appreciated.

Commentary in The Mu of Monmouth College
February 2009 Issue - Volume 1, Issue 3

As we saw last month, all of our women’s and men’s fraternities have elected new officers for 2009. The Panhellenic Council, governing the women’s fraternities, has new officers, too. The men’s governing body, the Interfraternity Council, will have elections on March 3.

So many fresh faces. So many great ideas.

Earlier this month, the Office of Greek Life, Involvement, and Service hosted a retreat for all these new officers and lead roundtable discussions about fraternal values, social event planning, new member education and recruitment, risk management, and philanthropy. I was pleasantly surprised with what students had to say.

Commentary in The Mu of Monmouth College
January 2009 Issue - Volume 1, Issue 2

1893, 1870, 1867, 1898, 1865, 1901, 1848.  Our fraternities are old.  Founded long ago by women and men dedicated to some simple ideas such as honesty, hard work, curiosity, and loyalty.  They were interested in achieving greatness and  building a better world.  Recently, I was touched by some words on this subject:

“We understand that greatness is never a given.  It must be earned.  Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.  Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things—some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor—who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

Commentary in The Mu of Monmouth College
December 2008 Issue - Volume 1, Issue 1

Students who know me will recognize the heading of this article.  It is a phrase I often invoke when discussing the conduct of students involved in fraternities and sororities, and it happens to be a quote from my own fraternal oath which I have sworn to live by.

Greek students occasionally complain that they are held to a different standard.  I have always found this interesting, since they have asked to be held to that higher standard by taking the oaths of membership in their respective organizations.  Indeed, this higher standard is precisely what the founders of every national sorority and fraternity sought for all of their brothers and sisters, for now and forever.

Remarks at the Court of Honor of Boy Scouts of America Troop 8
May 5, 2008 at 7:15 PM
Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale, Illinois

Some of you may know my grandfather, Dick Reck. He was a Troop 8 Committee Member for several years, and served on many, many Boards of Review helping Scouts like you on the Trail to Eagle. Until last week, he was living happily at home with his wife of 67 years until he was taken by ambulance to Hinsdale Hospital, where he is now being treated for pneumonia and a blood clot in his leg, in addition to his ongoing memory problems. Last week, some of you may have seen me arrive to the meeting tardy and out of uniform, because I had been visiting him in the intensive care unit and giving my grandmother a much-needed break.

As I sat with him, he was fidgety. He began reaching up, grabbing for something. He found it, turned it over in his hands, took something out. Then when he tried to bring this something to his mouth, I asked, “Grandpa, what are you doing?”