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Dick, it is an honor to be here today
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to have a conversation with you. I have known
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you for since I was actually a doc student and
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an intern here at AECT and I've always looked at
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you look towards you as a very special person who
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has such a capacity for honoring and advocating for your
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students and that has been something that has stayed with
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me and hopefully has become part of my style as
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I deal with my students now, I'd like you
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to talk a little bit about where you've been and
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where you are now and then also look to the
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future. But I'd like to talk about, I
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know you recently retired and talk about that transition,
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but what got you to that point? You've been
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in this field for many years, you've been in
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leadership positions, you're now on the Foundation board,
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helping make taking that further through the organization. So
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I want to know about your career, but then
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also the role of a CT has played, Okay
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, I'll give you the 50 cent version maybe and
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I can encapsulate some of that. I was born
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in Toronto and at the age of six they packed
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me off on a train, grand trunk railway and
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it was a steam train between Toronto and Chicago and
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they dumped me off at the other end and the
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black car picked me up and I went to this
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orphanage called mooseheart And stayed there 11 years And I
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say this because not because of his old, poor
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me, poor me because all of a sudden I
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had 500 brothers and sisters instead of just me.
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But they had a motto that was and still is
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inscribed on the front entrance to the school was entered
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to learn leave to serve. And I guess they
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did a pretty good job of indoctrinating that into me
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because I've, ever since then I've taken it to
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heart, that was my my role. I I
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was not a great athlete, I was not a
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great academic, my God, no, I mean
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purely an average student never never tipping the upper scales
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of the grade sheets, but so I I thought
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well what could I do? And so I found
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a lot of things to do. I was in
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the military for four years in Alaska and uh and
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elsewhere and I went to Brockport State University and got
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my uh B. A. R. Bs rather
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in elementary ed and then to Syracuse for masters.
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And there I was fortunate in two things actually at
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Brockport, I worked with Sherm sport out and Melvin's
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, my Gawronski, Melvin was formerly from michigan state
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and and Sherwin was a former leader of act and
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then I ended up at Syracuse and lo and behold
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there, I meant my my mentor of all mentors
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to me and that was done ely and and done
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in his characteristic uh way in basically indoctrinated me into
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the the additional feeling of caring for students he cared
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beyond belief. In 1962 as his student, I
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with Herb McCoy drove route five and 20 on the
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highways in february between Syracuse and Kansas city Missouri.
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That was the first A E. C. T
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. Convention. It was D. A. V
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. I, then department of audiovisual instruction. And
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at that time we lived on tim akin and uh
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dried apricots and we stayed at the Y. M
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. C. A. But we learned the dance
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of the hospitality suite and learned it pretty well.
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So our survival depended on the good graces of many
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of the film companies at the time. Uh Well
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that was the start. And and the thing that
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was interesting about that meeting was that Don took me
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literally by the hand and introduced me to Jim Finn
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, to charlie schueler, to harclerode louis kemp and
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the big names of the field in that day.
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And bob Dickie for and subsequently at every other convention
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or conference of G A. V. I and
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A E C. T. I've only missed two
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since that day because I was in Australia and Leave
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. But uh those days were very, very caring
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because they would then these guys would take me aside
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and Jim Finn would set me down and say Dick
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, sit down. Yes, sir, what are
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you doing? And I tell him, why aren't
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you in a doctoral program? Yes, sir.
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And so on and so forth. Well, and
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and that was the kind of the flak I would
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get from thin and from D Kiefer. And charlie
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Schueler was much more caring and friendly. He would
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say dick, I really, I feel that you're
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going to do well and so forth well. And
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that was the beginnings. And so I kind of
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got so involved with what this was because I learned
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from the masters, I learned about the students,
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not about me, I learned how to help a
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student and why I should help it. That that
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was my destiny. I couldn't do a lot of
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the other things. I didn't have the great research
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background and so forth. But so my way of
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looking at life was explainer, look at the research
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, look at the research by whomever it might be
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, uh Morrison, Jonas and kemp uh Ellie,
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regular youth and so forth. And try to explain
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to the students what does it all mean and how
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do we use what they're doing? And so that
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has always been my role explainer. And sometimes I
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don't explain it too well. But I have fun
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doing it and and in doing that I have been
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fortunate that when I was with a E. C
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. T. Temporarily they sent me off, packed
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me off to africa for a summer to do some
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filming for them. And that being my first uh
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real foreign adventure was that that was a taste of
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what was to come because from that place forward all
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of a sudden a passport became my best friend and
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it would begin to itch periodically and I would scratch
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it and say well I've got to do something and
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so off I go And I've covered uh places like
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going from Amsterdam to Berlin through East Germany when the
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wall was very much apparent and the vocals would come
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and knock on your door every 30 seconds and say
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passport, passport uh had a stint as a Nasa
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summer scholar. It actually lasted a year and a
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half. It was a long summer working at Kennedy
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space center. And in that way I got involved
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with managing or measuring uh discretionary time and long duration
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spaceflight because I thought well what do I know about
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science? But I did know about being alone and
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being, having time on your hands and what to
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do with it. And I extrapolated from that to
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say well here here these astronauts are going to be
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you know, 532 days. One way between here
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and Mars, what are they going to do all
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that time? And so Eastern Airlines caught wind of
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what the research I was doing. And I had
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, had it been fortunate with my contacts. I
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had met joan later Chretien who was, he was
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the french cosmonaut, had gone up with the Russians
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and he gave me a call and he said,
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why don't you come to Budapest? I said,
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sure, big deal. How am I going to
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get there? He said, you come and I'll
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tell you what what's going to happen. So I
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went there and it was the International astronautical Congress and
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there I met uh let Lana and I met all
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of the Russian cosmonauts of the day. And and
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that was a thrill. So with all of that
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, then I began to and share this with the
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students and say, look what happened here, look
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at these guys and so forth. And I would
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go to these conferences and bring back stuff and and
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share that with them and see what the students did
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with it. And as we developed the program over
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25 years it took to do the instructional systems program
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at UCSF. The thing became apparent to that these
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students need to broaden their base. Students from florida
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had never left the state, most of them never
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had a passport. And I said, well we're
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going to do something about that. So I started
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hauling in kids from Asia, I hauled them in
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from Taiwan and china and put them in my house
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, several of them uh I wish I had a
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dollar for every time they they've had bought cars for
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them and everything. They didn't have any money and
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I didn't either. But you know, I get
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a record of a car and at least it ran
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. And it was their condition, they had a
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radio say here dr that go back and forth to
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school. And so kids have been in my home
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as well in my life ever since. And that's
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because uh somehow that there is something about working with
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these students. The international students are in particular.
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Uh The ones that I I perhaps give the most
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attention to probably somewhat probably more than I should.
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Poor old american students. But they survived. But
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because english not being their language of instruction it has
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posed serious problems and ones that I joyfully uh reach
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out to see if we can't do something about.
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So that that's it's a long way around. The
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thing I all by the way I ran for president
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of the E. C. T. Uh Not
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once not twice not three times four times I got
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my butt beat all those times. But you don't
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really because when you run you find all of a
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sudden that you've got just hundreds and hundreds of friends
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who wish you well. And and so my debt
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to them to all of these people has been to
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try to survey asked in whatever way I can and
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now being on the foundation allows me to, to
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do that as well. But so it's all about
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not me, but about the students, why I'm
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doing anything is because of that. And I've got
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two wonderful sons and I got five grand babies.
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Uh, so they keep me occupied one summer in
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new york and others in California. But my other
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sons and daughters are located now in, in Chengdu
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. They're located in Taipei kao chung, uh,
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tom shwe, uh, she in shanghai, you
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name it. That's where my other kids are and
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I can't wait to be, be going in december
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again. Uh, to visit some of them both
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in Taipei and Beijing. So with that, I
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guess I've pretty well covered the waterfront of uh,
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not so much who I am, but what,
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what, what drives me the way it is.
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I know you've had an incredible impact on this on
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this organization, but also with the international division and
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, and to see you as the godfather of all
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these students. You know, I never see you
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at a conference where you don't have your gaggle of
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students following you around. I think that's, that's
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absolutely wonderful. But I do in a final,
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you know, we have just a few minutes here
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. But in a final question, I know you're
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instrumental in doing this history project And I would like
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you to share your vision of why you think this
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is so important and so critical for us to be
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doing this at this time. It's simply put the
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students why I'm doing this is there's no other reason
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when I teach, I have taught these students for
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25, 30 years now, 35. Uh,
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and I talk about Donnie Lee, I talk about
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charlie, schueler and, and jerry kemp and all
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of these folks Jim Finn. And, and nowhere
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had I been able to share with them in up
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close and personal view of who these people are.
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People like old charlie white, that old rascal,
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you know, everyone tv invades my space. And
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I said, oh God, what am I gonna
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do with you charlie? But he's a good buddy
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and he keeps me grounded to when he former a
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Ct president. But the thing that has, has
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held the glue together has been if we can provide
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history makers and I don't refer to myself, I'm
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too young to be a history maker. But uh
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, if we can provide the students with glimpses of
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some of these people, then there works their textbooks
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. Their theories come alive and that's what it's all
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about. You make it a living theory. Then
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they begin to know what to do with it.