Nineteen: Finding Inspiration in the New Year
Dear DU community members,
A new year; a new term. I hope everyone is settling gently back into the rhythm of your work and studies. There is much to look forward to in the coming weeks: Winter Carnival is just around the corner, and our hockey team will face off with Colorado College at Ball Arena on Jan. 27—one more step on the path to securing the national championship for a second year in a row!
Over the break, I had the opportunity to read “Undelivered” by Jeff Nussbaum. In the book, Nussbaum—a presidential speech writer himself—collects the ungiven speeches of influential people across history and, by doing so, paints a picture of a world that might have been. Because of tragedy, timing, surprises and changes of heart, the speeches in “Undelivered” were never given voice. They range from the speech JFK would have given on Nov. 22, 1963, had he not been assassinated, to an early draft of a speech by John Lewis during the March on Washington in which he struggled to navigate his personal feelings of outrage with what was best to advance justice and equality. Some of the undelivered speeches are tied to vivid and somber days in our history, such as a speech planned for September 11, 2001, by friend-of-DU Condoleezza Rice urging the U.S. to seek missile defense capabilities, as well as an undelivered speech that Dwight Eisenhower was prepared to give if the D-Day invasion had failed.
For me, many of the book’s stories served as a reminder of all we hope for DU’s students—the ability to marry vision and determination with adaptability. The strength of character and courage to do the right thing, to change your mind, to listen thoughtfully to trusted advisors. And the ability to engage in deep reflection, especially in moments of uncertainty. More than anything, the book serves as a reminder that leadership—and learning—is a process always in motion, always asking the best of ourselves.
And so, let us move into this new year focused on our goals, our hopes, our best laid plans and grandest visions—and let us find creativity in adaptation when the moment calls for it, as it so inevitably will.
Welcome again to the winter term. I can’t wait to discover what’s ahead.