May 29, 2009

Embodying The Spirit of Service

Today, I begin a new adventure.

The day that Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, he called on Americans to, "embody a spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves." I was there in Washington, shivering in 15 degree weather with to my brand new fiancee when I heard those words. But thankfully I wasn't the only one listening. At that same moment, everyone in the nation heard the president's clarion call to service. Intuitively, every American knew that something had to be done, there needed to be some way to inspire public service to be cool again.

About 2000 miles away, the Dean of the College of Public Programs heard the same call and just so happens to have the sphere of influence necessary to answer the president's challenge in a meaningful way.

Before the week was out, Dean Friedman gathered the leadership of the College and set out to lay the conceptual groundwork for a scholarship program - called The Spirit of Service - where a small group of students, both undergraduate and graduate, would be competitively selected to participate in an interdisciplinary academic symposium geared toward a career in public service.

Enter Sam.

Providing access to higher education? Check. Developing the next generation of leadership? Check. Empowering people, both young and old, to engage in national and community service? Check.

So here I am, on the day of John F. Kennedy's birthday, in a role largely made possible by a bill signed into law bearing his brother's name, starting a journey that will bring life to a scholarship program that raises the celebrity of public service and creates pathways to careers for anyone invested in the work of making our communities better places to live, work, and play. I'm a little bit excited.

"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Aaron Stiner said...

Congratulations Sam, nicely done.

Dean Friedman said...

Thanks for taking the leap of faith and for all your good work. In time, I hope that many will join us.

Debra Friedman