A Greater Appreciation

This “What’s on My Mind” post reflects on lessons learned as we face daily news of death caused by the pandemic and the passing of  national icons. While this is a topic that we do not necessarily welcome, I believe it can trigger the need for greater appreciation for those living around us.

It is often during times of grief caused by the death of a beloved, colleague, or national figure that one reflects on the celebration of their life accomplishments or in some cases, unfortunately the inadequacy to which we deeply appreciated or acknowledged their unique and special lifetime contributions.

In the backdrop of the nearly 200,000 deaths in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves reflecting on those of stature who have died this year such as John Lewis, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, actor Chadwick Boseman, HIV/AIDS activist Larry Kramer, mathematician Katherine Johnson (featured in Hidden Figures) and most recently Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With such prominent figures we are provided ample, easily accessible, and detailed narratives about their impactful and influential life presence.

In the case of Justice Ginsburg perhaps we did not fully understand or appreciate her seminal work to achieve equal rights for women or the magnitude of her trailblazing pre-Supreme Court work including: co-founding the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, arguing numerous groundbreaking equal rights and equal protection cases, and serving as U.S. Court of Appeals judge. While I had consumed her very popular “Notorious RBG” lore while she was alive, I too failed to fully appreciate and understand the magnitude of her full life story.

For most of the tragic COVID-19 casualties there are no Wikipedia citations, CNN online news briefs, or public testimonies celebrating their lives. While these types of post-living public accolades are certainly not required to validate the worth or meaning of any individual, the actions do signal the importance of mere recognition, understanding, and appreciation.

Time and time again as extraordinary people  pass, whether nationally recognized/revered or not, I find myself recognizing a failure to fully realize their impactful human attributes while they were still alive. Had I been armed with this type of personal knowledge, perhaps my daily and immediate actions and outlook on life would have been more deeply and positively enhanced – an opportunity lost.

So as I continue to reflect on the lifeforce of our colleague Gina Neskovic, I ask myself, how much more my life would have been enriched if I was afforded the opportunity to more fully know her before she passed. Please take an opportunity today, even in the virtual online work and living space we find ourselves in, to commit to more deeply knowing and appreciating your colleagues and loved ones. These insights, albeit not publicly proclaimed in the news, will strengthen your ability to impact the common good and live a more appreciative life now.

Convocation Reflections

Last week, PVCC held another engaging and successful Learning and Leadership week focusing on our collective roles in the Student First-Year Experience (FYE). Many of the learning week sessions focused on the skills needed to be successful in our virtual learning and working environments.

As you know, our work this year and how we interact with each other and our students is rooted in the Puma Commitment pillars of: engaging, challenging, supporting and caring. Over the past two weekends, over 600 students participated in a virtual New Student Orientation(NSO) with the Puma Commitment serving as the curricular foundation. Demonstratively speaking, the support and care exhibited by the faculty and staff leading NSO was amazing.

At the conclusion of the Convocation, we asked all attendees to complete a brief follow up reflection. Equally as important, is seeking feedback from the entire college community so we can gauge understanding of roles in moving the Puma Commitment forward as part of the FYE. Please take a moment to complete the Convocation Reflection.

Additionally, you may view or review the Convocation at the link noted below.

Convocation Recording

PVCC Convocation-20200818 1603-1

Password:  JaDAcBg4

PVCC is off to a fantastic start of the Fall 2020 semester.