Delivered on October 5, 2011, in accepting the O. DeSales Perez Award for Excellence in Collegiate Seminar.

What I Learned From DeSales

Well, what I learned from DeSales was that everybody deserves an opportunity to practice her or his art. That’s what he gave to so many people. And that’s what he gave to me.

He taught us to be brave enough to do what we love to do, and that’s how all this came about. Serving the students by serving the best we can offer.

You know, I didn’t even know what he was doing—I knew he was shy, wise, and not at all strangely modest, that he considered other people’s well-being before his own. That may be an idealization, but we live by our
idealizations, don’t we? That’s the Don Quixote in us.

How We Did It

And I learned that one thing leads to another, that doing something is always better than doing nothing because it gives us food for thought, something to grow on, mistakes to learn from—lots of mistakes.

And he showed us that looking back doesn’t matter so much as looking forward…to the next opportunity, the next trial...

Service

So, thank you for the opportunity to serve in multiple ways—it’s the food that keeps one going, working with so many great and wonderful people who each bring their own genius to the table, moment by moment.

If I were to list the geniuses I work with, the multiplicity of talents that surround us here at Saint Mary’s College—people whose company I have enjoyed for over 30 years, the list would be without end.

Thanks to the Christian Brothers and Saint John Baptiste de la Salle for the chance to work with so many great hearts and minds for the last couple of decades. I guess that’s what it all means.

Merci.

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