Happy Independence Day! Crosspost from my blog at The College of Westchester

In my other world as a college president, I write a blog.  Yesterday’s blog was about the beautiful country that we live in.  We sent it to our wonderful constituents including our board, our staff, faculty and students.  Despite many national and worldwide events that are frightening and tragic especially in the past few months, we still live in a country where freedom is ours, and it is precious!  It is important to remember that we have to continue to value our freedom and work hard to keep it.

Below is an excerpt from my blog at cw.edu.

I truly do love New York. We live and work in a state that I believe is forward thinking, supports the rights of all, and encourages higher education. Our NY State education leaders are caring individuals who support freedom of choice and I am proud and grateful that The College of Westchester is one of those stellar choices that students can make to further their education and their professional dreams. I had the opportunity to hear our NY State Commissioner of Education, Mary Ellen Elia, address a group of us at a recent APC Colleges Conference. She was inspirational in the way she spoke about students, passionate about making certain that they have many choices in determining what college to attend, including reputable, stable proprietary colleges (otherwise known in the popular media as “for-profit”). Many proprietary colleges, CW among them, are excellent colleges in which students thrive and succeed.

By the way, our own Professor Michael Flanagan and Dr. Stacy Larson presented at the APC conference on A Comprehensive Program for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and with great interest and enthusiasm from the audience did CW Proud!! Prof. Janet Thompson and I enjoyed every moment of their words of wisdom.

At this year’s Commencement, May 26, 2016, our keynote speaker, Mr. Harry C. Alford, president and founder of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, spoke about free enterprise, about grads making it happen, working hard, and making their own successes and opportunities. He shared his own journey of hard work and success.

It is by our relentlessness as American People, that we can accomplish anything we set out to do.

The other thought I personally leave you with is to educate yourself. Do not rely on politicians or the media as your only sources of what is happening in the world. Read, and read a lot, from many diverse sources, as even the way that the news is presented is sometimes selective. One of my favorite quotes I share here is, “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” –James Madison

It was often around the dinner table that my girls, Jim and I would debate and share our opinions, no matter how outlandish, radical, conservative or wacky another might think it could be. It was never about complying or brainwashing. On the contrary, debate was about formulating and being able to articulate your own point of view.

In a college where we teach free enterprise, where we teach people to build a life of financial independence, entrepreneurship, and the ability to build a life based on the freedoms that made the United States a great place to live, I offer you some quotes, gathered by Bill Murphy, Jr. of INC. Magazine, published on July 2, 2015. Read the entire piece by clicking here.

Murphy himself prefaces the piece by saying, “By the way, did you know that the Founding Fathers weren’t just great leaders? They were also true entrepreneurs.” I am sharing some of the wonderful quotes here, and ask that you take a look at the original piece and see what resonates with you. There are a variety of quotes and viewpoints represented here. Please understand that I am not proposing any particular point of view, just that each of us should have the right to believe as we like, freely debate, share our opinions and vote.

“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” –Bob Marley

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” –George Washington

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

“We hold our heads high, despite the price we have paid, because freedom is priceless.” –Lech Walesa

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” –Ronald Reagan

“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” –Woodrow Wilson

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” –Jim Morrison

Happy Independence Day!

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