Finding your passion is not a one size fits all exercise

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That’s great advice. It may surprise you to learn, however, that the person who made the suggestion isn’t a professor, career counselor, or anyone with knowledge of what it takes to succeed in our constantly changing, 21st century, technology-driven world. Confucius, the Chinese philosopher who lived approximately 2,500 years ago, uttered those words at a time when jobs looked much different than the careers people have today.

The concept of being passionate about your work, however, is as fresh today as it was in Confucius’ time.

How do people find their passion? Some people find their passion very early in life. Our School of Performing Arts students probably have been practicing their Oscar acceptance speeches in front of the bathroom mirror since they were children. Others must search for their passion.

Most of us find our passions as our horizons expand. We try new things, read up on new subjects, and talk with people from diverse backgrounds. Some people, like me, have different passions at different times in their lives.

Finding your passion sometimes means you’ll explore new roads for exploration’s sake—without knowing where the road goes.

Albert Einstein’s passion for inquiry made him the most influential scientist of the 20th century. In 1917, Einstein wrote a paper called “The Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Einstein’s paper became the foundation of a new technology called “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation.” Perhaps you are more familiar with the technology’s acronym, LASER. Today lasers are used in eye surgery, tattoo removal, to scan barcodes in supermarkets and departments stores, for data storage, and in electronic devices like DVD players. Multiple multi-billion dollar industries were born—all because of Einstein’s passion for inquiry.

If you see something that interests you, explore it, no matter what your age or position in life. You never know where a new-found passion will lead.

Pace supporters display true holiday spirit on Giving Tuesday

First there was Black Friday. Large retailers co-opted the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season. Small mom and pop retailers weren’t about to be left out. They proclaimed the third day of the four-day weekend as Small Business Saturday in the hopes of drawing shoppers to their stores. Online retailers followed suit, electing the following Monday as Cyber Monday to push their products and sales. Even shippers had their own day—Free Shipping Thursday on the final Thursday before Christmas.

The holidays are behind us, but with so much focus on shopping and sales each holiday season, let’s applaud the United Nations Foundation and New York City’s 92nd Street Y for creating Giving Tuesday in 2012. The two groups created Giving Tuesday in response to the overemphasis on consumerism during the holidays. The day has its roots in the Bible verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I am enormously proud of the way our Pace family members embraced Giving Tuesday this year. After raising approximately $13,000 in 2013, we set a Giving Tuesday goal of $25,000 for 2014. A generous alumnus had agreed to match contributions up to $25,000, so we hoped to meet our goal and raise $50,000.

Thanks to the spirit and generosity of our Pace friends, alumni, and supporters, we met our goal by the afternoon. By the end of the day, almost 300 donors contributed more than $76,000—providing the University with a total of $101,700 to support things like curriculum development, scholarship programs, and student activities.

Even after the holidays, it is appropriate to give thanks. At Pace we are thankful for everyone who recognizes that the United States cannot succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world unless the great middle class of students—not just students from the most selective colleges in America—receive first-class educations that combine high-quality classroom instruction with real world experience. Pace educates these students every day and they go on to fulfill their promise and potential. We are thankful for the support of our friends and extended Pace family members whose generous gifts allow us to help these hardworking young men and women achieve their dreams.

My warm wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and successful year as we begin 2015.

Bo’s story

I often talk about the amazing stories at Pace University. These stories recount victories of exceptional students and teams of students, highlight the accomplishments of our well-respected faculty, and demonstrate the heart of our University—like when everyone pulled together after Superstorm Sandy.

Then there is Bo’s story. It is a story that embodies the best elements of all our other stories combined. Bo’s story reminds us that Pace is a very special place, made up of very special people.

Nine years ago, 10-year-old Robert “Bo” Jones was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma—a form of brain cancer. The little boy that loved to run and lift weights underwent surgery to remove tumors. He endured radiation, chemotherapy, and more doctors’ visits and tests than most adults face in a lifetime.

During Bo’s ordeal his mother introduced him to Make-A-Wish—the national organization that grants wishes for children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. While most kids wish for a trip to Disney World or to meet their favorite celebrity, Bo, who was then a teenager and in remission, wished for one year of strength and conditioning workouts with a Pace athletics trainer.

“I was struck by his determination,” Mike Bohlander, Pace’s strength and conditioning coach said. “He could have had anything with his wish. But he chose to come to Pace three days a week for one year and have me push him to improve his cardio and strength fitness. He had a plan and it was a pleasure to help him.”

Bo said he had wanted to attend Pace since high school, and his plan was to build himself up before his freshman year. Bo accomplished both goals. He started at Pace in Pleasantville earlier this month. He’s an education major. He’s also a Make-A-Wish volunteer. Best of all, Bo remains cancer-free.

Coach Bohlander said he still works with Bo, but Bo knows what he wants to accomplish and doesn’t need anyone’s help. “Bo inspires me,” he said. “The amount of progress he made in a short amount of time was truly remarkable. You can’t teach desire, and every day I work with him I get to see him accomplish something new.”

As I said, there are many amazing stories at Pace. I think one reason we have so many great stories is because our students, faculty, and staff support and care about each other. I also believe that the very special qualities that everyone brings to Pace will lead to more great stories in the future. I just have a feeling, however, that it will be difficult to top Bo’s story.