Yesterday I attended the first reunion and 10th anniversary of the UCLA M. Ed. in Student Affairs program. I looked around the room and felt tremendous pride…for the current and former students, for myself, for the way the program has touched the lives of every person in the room.
During the summer of 2005, Danny Ambrose, a graduate student from Indiana University, interned with me at UCLA. As a summer project, I asked him to research the possibility of designing a one-year masters level program. We played with it throughout the summer then he went back to IU. I thought about the project that sat on my desk, realizing that it needed to come to life in the UCLA Graduate School of Education (GSEIS), the top-rated public graduate school of education in the country and the number two school only behind Harvard..
I tweaked the project to fit with what I knew were UCLA standards and created the proposal. In January of 2006 I took the proposal to my friend, Dr. Linda Sax, in the Higher Education & Organizational Change division of GSEIS. Linda said yes and worked with me on developing the proposal that would create scholar-practitioners in student affairs. We asked Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Janina Montero to fiscally support the proposal. Janina said yes. We asked my boss, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Bob Naples, to support the potential new program by allowing me to direct it. Bob said yes. Bob also said yes when he was asked to teach in the program, as did Christine Wilson, Suzanne Seplow, and Jane Pizzalota. GSEIS administration said yes when we asked them to approve a new program. Finally, the esteemed faculty of GSEIS, including Drs. Sylvia Hurtado and Mitch Chang, said yes when we delivered the final proposal to them for approval.
People said yes and a new program was born. Because people said yes, the lives of everyone in the reunion room today were forever changed. Had I not taken that proposal to Linda in January of 2006, the M.Ed. in Student Affairs at UCLA would never have happened. I was reminded once again that, yes, one person can make a difference. One person can create change. It takes a village to do most things, I absolutely know, but one person has to have the first thought. I realize how blessed I am to have been a person who had many first thoughts, and thank God, I chose to share them with others. My heart is very full as I write…
I heard a line today in a UCLA PR video that touched me: We’re remembered by the rules we break… Indeed! If that’ true, I must be well remembered! Oy! Regardless, break those rules! Be courageous! Change lives…especially your own.
Today is the anniversary of my father’s passing. He died three years ago today and is dearly missed. I hope he and Sherry are together and with the others in the family who passed before them. Their memories are blessings for the remainder of us…
On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)
2011 – Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian moms, addresses the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. His testimony brings national attention to the proposed constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Iowa and launches his role as a national activist.
I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html
Write your story! Now is good!