1. When you were 21 years old, where were you living and what were you doing?
I was in the third year of a 5-year undergraduate cooperative education engineering curriculum at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. I’d go to college for two consecutive quarters (Winter & Spring), then work full time (co-op) for two quarters (Summer and Fall). It was a good way to pay for my education while gaining valuable and relevant engineering work experience that gave me a competitive advantage over my peers in seeking full time work post-graduation.
2. What did you worry about–what was that one thing that you feared the most?
Failure. I knew failure was not an option for me. I believed that if I fell short of obtaining my degree, that I’d return home humiliated with limited options and would probably end up getting involved with the wrong crowd. Remaining focused on my goal and maintaining a positive “can do” attitude when I struggled are personal attributes that helped me succeed when I witnessed others drop out of engineering.
3. What did you hope the future held for you?
Opportunity. The opportunity to fulfill my potential and make a positive contribution in this world using my God-given abilities.
4. How did you define what it meant to be a man?
A man had to be strong, both physically and mentally, keep his emotions under control, be disciplined, fulfill his obligations and keep his word.
5. What advice do you give today to that young man of yesterday?
Life will take you on a journey and present you with many opportunities, obstacles to overcome, bumps in the road manage, dilemmas you don’t completely understand, and some difficult decisions to make. Having faith in a higher being, maintaining high moral character, and helping others improve their circumstances will provide the roadmap to keep you on the right path in this journey with humility. If you strive to see the good in others, forgive those who have done you wrong, and lend a hand to assist others who are making the effort to improve themselves, you will not only be a man, but your life will also be enriched with love, peace and happiness.