Day 17: York to Kearney, NE

Today was a very uneventful biking  day. There was a bit of a headwind and it was a cloudy day—the temperature never reached 70 degrees.

I had to burn a lot of calories from my big steak dinner from the night before with  Jim and Chances. At the end of the bike ride, I had an interview with Nebraska TV.

I do not have another alumni event until we reach Denver on Monday. Another night off provides another chance to think about the wonderful experiences that I have had during these last seven years as dean.

One of the highlights has been the opportunity to work with my Science Advisory Council. That started even before I moved to campus, when I met Cindy Parseghian, a member of the council, at the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation conference in the spring of 2008. That, of course, is what led to this the Road to Discovery.

The incredible vision and virtues of the whole council have led to so many great advances in the college, including accelerated growth in faculty, resources, undergraduate research, new programs, collaborations, and much more. The council is obviously made of generous women and men. They give their money, their time, and their networks to make sure that we are fulfilling our mission as powerfully as possible. “Generous” doesn’t really cover it. They demonstrate what I consider the greatest virtue, magnanimity, which means “great-souled.” Magnanimity gathers up and displays many other virtues, including kindness, generosity, compassion, respect, and charity, to name a few, in a way that ennobles both the person and everyone they meet. They look at what is needed and provide it as fully as they can, with no thought of the other person’s ability to repay. Just being around a magnanimous person reminds you of your own dignity and inspires you to imitate their outstanding character so the well-being of everyone is elevated.

That’s my experience whenever I’m with a member of the council. Together, they have been so courageous to think big and act bold in a way that has made a huge difference in the college and in the world. It has been a tremendous honor to work with them.

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