Some memories are meant for a brief moment in time while some last a lifetime. Some of the most powerful are those that arise out of our greatest challenges and victories - and some from our deepest indebtedness. From the tender age of thirteen I can still remember clearly an experience that impacted me for life.
I was unaware of its true significance at the time. Today, I realize an intimate bond was burnished in that experience; one that must forever be acknowledged and affirmed no matter how far removed I become in time or distance. And, as the years go by, my realization of that experience's significance has only grown.
Today my dear mom is infirm and unsteady, having lived a full life and raised four strong sons to be fine citizens of society. But when this son as a young boy forgot her birthday, she wasted no time in jogging my memory.
It was my first experience in taking for granted the contribution of someone I love. Certainly, I was unable to offer much. But as she reminded me, not much was required.
I was preoccupied with the usual interests of a boy at that age: homework, wrestling practice, baseball box scores and girls. Her admonitions initiated a re-evaluation of the priorities of my life. Beginning with my teenage years and continuing until today, the importance of family and others who have cared for me has only grown over the years.
Secondly, more to the point for my purposes in writing this column, I believe my mother gave me a great gift by simply challenging me to recognize her contribution.
Sometimes you don't begin to appreciate others until you are encouraged to do so. It is this gift of challenging others to recognize and contribute something back that I would like to offer to this readership.
In the years since graduation, I have grown to appreciate the “value differential” of a Columbia Engineering School education. As I have increasingly reconnected with this institution, I have come to know the rewards of reconnecting. And like every mom, our Alma Mater is strengthened by seeing her former students coming back home or connecting with other alumni wherever they are around the world.
The Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association (CESAA) stands poised to make that reconnection easier and the rewards are significant for doing so. It is a very capable volunteer organization, blessed with an independent endowment of funds and a very active alumni Board.
Its mission is quite broad: to promote alumni fellowship, to act as a resource for our alumni and to support the goals of our School generally. This three-part mission is carried out through diverse programs that cover the interests of everyone.
Columbia recently kicked-off its 250th anniversary celebration.
There is no more fitting time to reconnect with your Alma Mater
than on her birthday. Just as my mom reminded me, not much is required.
If you want to learn more about, or become more involved in, CESAA
please visit us at www.cesaa.org,
or email me at email@example.com.
But consider for yourself the benefits of reconnecting with your
Alma Mater. For both you and her, they are immeasurable.