The persistent kind

Unknown-1This year’s Super Bowl was as fun to watch online as it was on television as people weighed in throughout the game on Facebook and Twitter. When the power went out and the game was temporarily halted, some people ran to their computers and smart phones, while sports commentators caught flat-footed tried desperately to fill air space.  All the while, we were treated to over-hyped commercials that often fell short of expectations

One Facebook post caught my attention. Justin Constantine (’92) wrote: “In case any of you missed the commercial about the Wounded Warrior Project during the Super Bowl tonight, here is the YouTube link.” He posted the video with a reminder of how easy it is to contribute to the cause.  What struck me was Justin’s dedication in the midst of the gridiron contest that borders on a national obsession. He wasn’t taking a break from his all important work.

The same should be said for Adam Armiger (’07) whose commitment to the Hope Marietta Foundation found Adam cheering on his Facebook page about Hunter Paulin, a friend of the foundation and the Play 60 Super Kid of the Year. Hunter who has a congenital heart condition delivered the game ball.

It made me realize that significant change — the kind that alters lives and has widespread and lifelong impact — requires commitment of the persistent kind. Lasting change demands a commitment that does not ease up, slow up or give up. It is on going, devoted and never interrupted by even the most memorable of Superbowls.

Individuals like Justin and Adam demonstrate this.  To care and wish and even work a little isn’t enough.  Change happens with serious commitment, persistence and a relentless drive for the long haul.

Dukes making news

One Duke and one former Duke made national headlines this week.

Charles Haley ('87)

The National Footbal League announced that Charles Haley (’87) is a finalist for the NFL’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Haley — the only football player in NFL history to earn five Superbowl rings — was a fourth-round draft pick out of JMU in 1986. He went on to a successful career with the San Francisco 49s and the Dallas Cowboys. Read Charles’ Be the Change profile here:

This is the first year that fans can vote for their favorites. So if you’d like to vote for Charles, here’s the link: The fans’ choice list will be announced on Feb. 6. so vote right away!

Dawn Evans ('11), spokesperson for NephCure

Another Duke in the news this week is current basketball standout Dawn Evans. She is making news not only as the top scorer in the nation but as a champion for many individuals suffering from serious kidney disease. Diagnosed last year with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, Dawn’s determination to succeed despite the obstacle is inspiring.  Yesterday’s USA Today featured Dawn and her story.  You’ll want to read it and see the video clip.  Here’s the link.

Both Dawn and Charles are testimony to JMU’s potent merger of excellent students, a challenging atmosphere and sincere support — a formula that cultivates success.  Every student has potential, and so many — like Dawn and Charles — achieve it.

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