There are few times in life when an event can render you speechless. This happened to me at approximately 12:54pm on Tuesday, April 25th. At the DEAC Annual Conference, institutions gather for an awards luncheon in which outstanding graduates and famous alumni are publicly recognized for their achievements. We have the opportunity to hear their inspiring stories and learn about their incredible journeys as they pursued their higher education dreams.
Following the stories of the graduates, DEAC nominates individuals who have made a positive impact on distance education, in the lives of students, and through committed service. It is an accomplished group of individuals who are deserving of the awards they receive. Given the caliber of nominees, it was surprising when the last name called for the Person of the Year award was mine. As I looked up from the text message I was sending on my phone and after hearing my name, I thought there had clearly been a mistake.
As I walked up to the podium and stared out across the attendees, there were no less than a dozen other faces of individuals who were more worthy of receiving this award. It was humbling and because it was a surprise, when I needed them most, words failed me.
So, this is the proper thank you I wanted to convey.
I have been fortunate over the past four years to work with some amazing individuals through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. As a consultant, I have been presented with opportunities to come alongside the Accrediting Commission and member institutions to help them meet the needs of the students they serve. One of the most fulfilling aspects is the chance to learn from others. For me, this is less of a job than it is an occasion to wake up every day and be inspired by the individuals I am lucky enough to call, not just clients, but friends. We make a difference because we are better together. This award is less about me then it is about reflecting on all the people who provided encouragement, advice, and opportunities along the way. I want to say thank you, not only for the award, but for every individual who made me a better person today than I was yesterday.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled
by a spark from another person. Each of us has
cause to think with deep gratitude of those who
have lighted the flame within us.”
~ Albert Schweitzer