Innovative Leadership Newsletter # 6 – The Last Course?

Richmont Innovative Leadership Students,

Ten years ago a professor at Carnegie Mellon University wrote a fascinating book titled The Last Lecture. The book became a national bestseller and made a big impact on lots of people, including me. The author, Randy Pausch was the father of three kids who soon would lose their dad to his battle with cancer. 

As I write these words I am in good health with lots of energy. The administration of Richmond has assured me that my job is secure and there is a place for a guy like me, now in the mid-eighties, to lead innovative courses and teach them in creative ways. But there were times this semester when I wondered if I might be giving my last lecture and teaching my last course. I had picked up an illness that is easily treated and has a good prognosis for full recovery. I wanted this course to be strong, maybe the best that I had ever taught. Instead it turned out to be close to a disaster in my opinion. I did not have the energy to plan and lead it to my satisfaction. My computer skills seemed to disappear and at one point I dozed off in the middle of one of my own lectures. Did any of you notice?

Back home after the modules I started to recover. My students, academic colleagues, friends, close family and long time physician all jumped in and helped me get going again. In this life I still have courses that I want to teach, books that I want to write, things I want to read and hopefully a lot of hours doing what invigorates me most: building people and pouring the things I’ve learned into emerging, next generation leaders. 

Despite my lingering fatigue (that hopefully will go away) I remain committed to my life mission of engaging, encouraging, equipping and being an example/model to the people (of any age) who continue to stimulate me and let me contribute to the emergence of their leadership capabilities. My major calling right now is to care for my wife being her caregiver as she faces some emerging healthcare issues. I don’t believe that the time has come for me to quit or that I’ve lead my last course.  I still want to finish strong.

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In the coming days each of you will receive an email from me with a few brief comments about your papers and a summary of how your colleagues in the innovative leadership class viewed this course. Thank you for being a part of our class. I especially want to congratulate the four of you (Meghan, Tom, Jeremy and Daimianna) who are scheduled to graduate this month. I wish all of you God’s guidance and blessing as you continue with your education, go forth to serve where you sense God’s leading, build other people, become effective leaders leaders and live lives that bring to glory to God.

Warmly, Gary