A student’s questions recently provided the opportunity for me to reflect on the basic values that form the foundation of a meaningful life.
This is what he asked: “What personal attribute do you believe accounts for your success in the university and intellectual environment? And what values would you ask RIT students to embrace?”
The answer to both questions is identical.
What I try to reflect, and what I search for in people whom I hire, and what I would like all RIT students to strive toward are the following: integrity; work ethic; smarts and talent; ability to communicate; ability to work with others; and individual, professional and institutional loyalty. I have listed those attributes in priority order.
Every successful leader and citizen needs all of these.
However, to possess any of these attributes without integrity will yield failure. Having integrity and missing some of the others may not yield total success, but I believe integrity will at least provide happiness and a sense of esteem and comfort with oneself.
Of course, there are other attributes that are important for success and happiness. For example, the ability to love and be loved; the willingness to give back to society; the understanding that it is important to treat others the way you would wish to be treated; the ability to listen; the ability to respect ideas, cultures, and individuals who may be different from you and with whom you may disagree.
Putting all of that together is no easy task, because there will be forks in the road almost every day that force us to examine our motivations. Each of us needs courage and discipline to stay on the right path.
I believe that great institutions also must embody these values. At RIT, we hold institutional integrity in highest esteem. Our work ethic is evident in the many achievements we have attained. Smarts and talent flow in abundance through our students, staff and faculty. We work very hard to be the kind of university that inspires loyalty and, yes, love.
We are in the final phase of the university’s largest fund-raising campaign. You will read about the successes of this historic effort in this issue. You, the friends and family of RIT, are making a great future possible. We will try in every way to deserve your confidence.
Albert J. Simone