We are all blessed to be together at a time of destiny and unique opportunity, and in a season of spirit and wonder.
The world needs a bright light for positive change, hope, safety, love and authenticity.
I believe that is us.
We are moving from a mentality of disease to health, from lists and ranks to inspiring learning and solving real problems of real people.
Creating a land grant university and academic medical center that can redefine the field.
Change West Virginia University and West Virginia to change the world.
Thank you, West Virginians and Mountaineers, for the sacrifice, service and effort each one of you delivers in personal and professional excellence and caring.
We deeply believe success is measured in happiness, engagement, health, the strength of our purpose and the culture of our community.
Tom Friedman, the New York Times editorial writer and author, wrote that he believes the difference in outcomes in our country is related to the strength of communities, not in salaries or location.
We have a very strong community.
Abraham Maslow, the father of modern psychology, noted that humans have a hierarchy of needs with safety and love being at the foundation. I have written that a higher degree of psychological safety is the only thing that differentiated Google’s best teams from all other teams.
Safety allows people to be authentic and creative.
Our goal is to continue to build culture driven by love, safety and purpose, which stimulate creativity and happiness.
Author Dan Buettner visited places in the world where people live long and well. He called the Blue Zones. He asked people two questions that directly link to happiness – is your time long and is your life easy or hard?
Having our eyes open and really seeing the miracles of our life helps our time be long and our life easy – it is really in our mindset.
The priceless gifts of family, independence, health, nature and even problems we face in our lives are often lost as blessings.
Blessings of growth, connection, purpose and gratitude for our lives and opportunity.
Realizing what is really important can change everything and help life slow down a bit.
Listening to our heart a little more, and your brain a little less can make all the difference.
Intuition versus ego. The poet William Blake told us this in Auguries of Innocence,
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
Legacy is in the number of people we touch, the things we do from our heart and the defining purpose that drives our lives. It is how we live our lives – purposefully, fearlessly, and with an eye towards eternity.
We should seek to be the stone that creates concentric ripples in the water of our lives. Many stones together change the direction of great rivers and can change history.
Satoro said, “Individually we are a drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
We are creating a force here in West Virginia that centers on doing well by doing good. Together.
This was evident at the celebration of life for Jim Brick, M.D. (former chair of internal medicine and interim dean for the medical school), who we lost in 2017.
Jim and his twin brother John, had a frame of reference from their Mom, Nola.
If they had a question about the value of a specific activity, they always asked would it pass the Nola test – the right thing done for the right reason.
If I look at the last year and look forward to our futures – I see open road, beautiful people, rare opportunity and great adventure.
I think we are on a rare journey and with each of us daring to be authentic and commit ourselves to a better future for West Virginia, we can be real Mountaineers.
Climbing the highest summit and lighting the way for the world. That will pass the Nola test.
Thank you for a great 2017 and look forward to even better things ahead in the next year.
I will close with one of my favorite quotes from Gandhi.
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.