My newest favorite word

dictionary2_1418194cI have a new word in my personal lexicon: Gruverize.

It is defined thus:

1. to go out of one’s way to be helpful

2. to unselfishly offer one’s expertise to those who have less understanding of said expertise

3. to be aggressively cooperative

The etymology of my new word (as many in JMU’s School of Media Arts will recognize) is derived from the name of SMAD’s John Gruver.

I first heard the word more than a year ago when I asked a friend for some help with my Mac laptop. After trying unsuccessfully to solve my problem, he called in John Gruver, who quickly realized that my computer needed more than a quick fix and then offered to take an in-depth look at it.

SMAD's Jon Gruver

SMAD’s John Gruver

Now understand that John Gruver works with computers all day long, and my request was out of the purview of his regular duties. As the network and lab manager for SMAD, he is responsible for lots and lots of computers. At the beginning of each semester, he makes sure that constantly-used student and faculty equipment — essential to SMAD — is up and running efficiently and effectively. In that department — more so than in many others, I suspect — John’s role is essential.

SMAD has lots of highly technical computer equipment, so John is busy.

You also might think he would be inundated with requests from people like me. (Let’s just call us less-than-computer-savvy.) And if so, wouldn’t we be just a bother to an expert in Mac computers like John?

Apparently not.

After he worked on my computer, making it better than ever, I asked him why he offered to help me, and he said this: “I enjoy helping people. And I remember the people who helped me when I was first starting out.”

People like John make life for the rest of us better by sharing their expertise generously and unselfishly.

Years ago, I worked for a man who termed people like John “aggressively cooperative.” I’ve always liked that description because it’s more than just getting along, more than simply doing one’s job, more than just cooperating. To be aggressively cooperative means to go out of one’s way to cooperate, to seek out ways to help, and, in John’s case, to offer expertise unselfishly.

That’s John Gruver, my aggressively cooperative friend.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge the equally helpful John Hodges (SMAD’s technology manager), who introduced me to John Gruver and to my newest, favorite word, Gruverize.




About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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