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Recently, I read an article in the June 16, 2008 issue of ADA News called "A dental student living in Harlem." If you get a chance, I would encourage you to read this opinion from this extraordinary young person who is a student at NYU. He is a shining example of what this generation is all about. It has been my experience of interacting with the students here at the Dugoni School that they have a similar strong commitment in helping citizens to overcome their many disadvantages. I am pleased to see our students involved in so many volunteer programs both in the United States as well as abroad. It shows their strong commitment to give back to society.

The student stated the following:

“We all can be mentors and leaders in our locales, but too many of us don’t even know the first names of our next-door neighbors.”

A very profound quote. Today we are all very busy with our own lives and the complexities of trying to achieve success. Do not misunderstand me — success is important. One needs to ensure that one's own financial success is addressed. But we cannot forget those around us; too many people today, especially in today’s economics, are struggling even harder than ever. We need to reach out to them.

Baby boomers often state that our young people do not care. I am pleased to see that this generation of students coming into the Dugoni School care a lot about people. We need to encourage them, support them and work side by side. As a baby boomer, I am encouraged that society is in good hands with our young people.

Fishing trip
Fishing trip

I am pleased to say my trip down the Smith River was very successful. It was incredibly relaxing and it gave me a chance to reflect. I continue to encourage you to take a similar opportunity to do this during the summer when you have some time.

It is always amazing how one can do these sort of things and become reenergized and also put things in perspective. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity to do this and also spend some quality time with our good friends, Dr. Tom Bales and Mr. Fred de Roode.

As we approach the celebration of our independence, please enjoy the long weekend. Enjoy family and friends in the various manners you will be celebrating the 4th of July. If you are traveling, be safe.

I look forward to seeing you when we get together at the beginning of the academic year.

Today, I am beginning my journey down the Smith River in Montana. It is the first time I will go fly fishing. I am pleased I get to enjoy this time with several of our dear friends of the dental school, Dr. Tom Bales and Mr. Fred de Roode. They indicated to me that it was time that I learn how to relax, so I am going to give it a try. There will be no pictures of the experience. I will be sleeping in a sleeping bag on the banks of the river for five nights. I may be the best dressed non-fisherman on the trip.

I encourage you all to relax during the break. I think we all need time for reflection and relaxation with family and friends. I will not be in communication during this week. Apparently, cell phone reception and other ways of communicating are non-existent, so that is probably good news for you all. You will not get any messages from me asking you to do something. At the same time, I apologize if there is anything you need from me. I will not be able to get back to it until I reach civilization again on Saturday.

Best wishes and safe travels wherever you may be during the break — a break that is well deserved for everyone.

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During my recent vacation, I had time to do some extensive reading. One book that caught my interest was A Letter to America by David Boren. A Rhodes Scholar, the longest-serving chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a U.S. senator and governor of Oklahoma, he has served as president of the University of Oklahoma for the past 13 years.

Mr. Boren believes that our country is at a crossroads. He raises many issues, including our image in the international community, lack of bipartisan cooperation and downward trend of the quality of education.

He also discusses the need for us to understand the cultures, values and beliefs of the world. We must recognize that 95 percent of the world’s population exists outside the United States. At the Dugoni School, I believe we understand the need to think globally. I am so pleased that we have embarked on many global initiatives to date, for example SCOPE and the IDS program. We will be considering additional ones in the very near future.

If you get time, I encourage you to read the book.