Blog Post #299 Build that runway!!

Build that Runway!!!

A quote attributed to Amelia Earhart: “Some of us have great runways already built for us.  If you have one – take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”

Most of you know that Amelia Earhart was a pioneer in aviation – and a great pioneer in women in aviation.  She never returned from a flight around the world. Some have speculated that her plane landed in some island and either crashed, the natives kept her there, or she decided to stay there.

But, back to her quote:

In my life, I had a runway that existed for me.  I got a great education, went to an existing university (University of Nebraska) and got a doctorate (PhD); got great positions and excelled.  The important part of my life – was not just having the runway, but TAKING OFF on the runway. I had opportunities and tried to make the most of my God given talents and the situation I was in.  

In today’s blog, I want to talk about building a runway.

At Dakota State University in 1984, the South Dakota Board of Regents changed the mission of Dakota State to be one of information systems and technology.  Yes, I was in the right place at the right time, and yes, I had some of the skills. I remember being at a working lunch with about five people (including the acting president of the university) and crafting a curriculum.  And, yes, I do fondly remember actually writing the curriculum on the back of napkins!!! It was truly from scratch – but based on knowledge and experience. While that current has been modified since then, many parts still exist.  We set up courses in programming, systems analysis, databases, project management, management information systems in businesses, and a capstone ‘put-it-all-together’ course. That with a solid business core and a solid general education core become one of the premier programs in the United States.  It also gave me an impetus to move out to stretch, to grow outside of my comfort zone.

This was building a runway that many have followed.  With my Facebook friends, I count many that are very successful.  At least four of my former students have gone on for doctorate degrees and are teaching at various institutions around the United States.  (If you will, the many graduates and students that I interacted with are kicking back into the system huge tax amounts – for schools, for governments.  But, beyond that they are kicking back into the community as boy and girl scout leaders, even politicians, a few judges, attorneys, CIO (Chief Information Officers) and more.  If you will, I might be at the tip of an iceberg with thousands that benefitted from my teaching. Now, understand that I am not bragging – these students did it themselves – with their God given talents too.  They got up in the morning, faced the day and achieved. But, I had at least a small part in motivating and encouraging them.

I hope my efforts will continue for many years to come, even though many will not know my name – but the leaders that these former students have become will touch the next generations, who will impact generations after them.

So a sleepy, teacher education institution became a high tech campus with great success – and I was part of that.

So, what do you think?  Can you picture yourself on the tip of an iceberg – encouraging others to reach out, build their own runways and make this world a better place?  I encourage you to invest in others!!

What do you think?  Can you do that? What do you want to do today?  Can you approach it with gusto and make it happen?  YES YOU CAN!!!

Have a great day!!



Posted by Bruce White

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