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Lessons Learned: 1989-1980

Lessons Learned: 1989-1980

Our Alumni December 02, 2018
Wit and wisdom from alumni from the Classes of 1989-1980.

Class of 1989

Joseph R. Hinrichs
Global Automotive Executive, Dearborn, Michigan

If you help others be successful, it will come back to you.

Joe Hinrichs ‘89There is no substitute for the satisfaction and the joy of serving others, of helping them to solve problems, overcome obstacles and be successful.

Never stop learning, gaining knowledge. Curiosity not only keeps the mind fresh but also leads to new discoveries.

Have a positive attitude. The team is more important than the individual. Offer to help. Sacrifice for the good of the team.

There is tremendous power in a can-do spirit. It brings people together rather than making them defensive or looking to place blame.

No real relationship can exist with-out communication. Commit to frequent interaction. If you want trust, you have to invest more than an email or a phone call; you must invest real time together.

Listening is more important than speaking. Take the effort to truly seek to understand what the other individual is trying to say.

To whom more is given, more is expected. If you have a leadership position, you have a responsibility to give of yourself to the community.

The older you get, the more you appreciate your family and friends — they are the true blessings in life.

Class of 1988

Stephen Burke
Orthodontist, Centerville, Ohio

There’s too much out there to see and do. Moving is living.

Stephen Burke ’88I started changing — ruining? — the words to popular songs in grade school. MTV and YouTube gave me the inspiration and the vehicle to share these parody songs. The beauty of it all is that anyone can do it.

I have three sons of college age. I awoke one Thursday morning to see that one accidentally butt-dialed me at 3:01. To him, my advice is, “Go. To. Bed!”

You will succeed in this world if you’re smart and you smile. When you’re smart, you can learn and do almost any task. If you smile doing it, then others will be attracted and enjoy doing it with you. These are the qualities that I seek in my employees and am drawn to in my friends.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” —Philippians 4:4

Teenagers often act like they don’t care about much, but they do. Be positive instead of negative. Notice them. Pay a compliment. Whenever possible, inject humor into any situation and conversation. Use humor that makes fun of yourself or status and not of others. Be nice.

Orthodontics is my calling, perhaps because it’s the best job for me. I marvel that I ended up with a career where they call me “doctor,” performing elective treatment, with a universally positive intent: improving smiles.

Class of 1987

Hector Cordero-Guzman
Social Scientist, New York City

I have the best job I could pos-sibly have: To learn. To write. To teach. And every year there’s a new generation of students who have new experiences, new ideas, new curiosities. So, it’s built in, this sense of replenishment every year.

Hector Cordero Guzman ’87A person is very lucky when you can align your professional interests with your personal interests and your passions.

Success is being able to be a credible example and having a positive impact in the lives of others.

When I showed up to UD, I was a 17-year-old Puerto Rican boy. There weren’t a lot of people like me around. So living through certain challenges, I must tell you, I embraced the experiences and the campus embraced me.

The key is not to be a talker or a listener. It’s about knowing when to do what. Sometimes it’s important to talk. Sometimes it’s important to listen. Sometimes, though, people mismatch it.

The kind of cultural capital classes like drama or film give you for the rest of your life is tremendous — five, 10 years later. Scenes from a certain film that I learned in the classroom come up in conversations.

Class of 1986

Amy Lopez-Matthews
Higher Education Professional, Dayton

Value the people and the moments in your life that bring you happiness. Recognize the beauty in your relationships, and take joy in being with someone you care for.

Amy Lopez-Matthews ’86I truly believe there are no coincidences.

I lost the love of my life, my husband Craig, in 2017. His love changed my life forever, and while I am feeling lost without him, I know that my family and friends — along with my faith in a loving God who will unite us someday — makes my days survivable.

If you have found your soul mate, the person you love more than yourself, cherish them each and every day. Make time for them, instead of making time for the things that really don’t matter much at the end of the day.

Heaven must be real because going through this life without the hope of a heaven that reunites us with those we love would be unbearable.

Losing someone you love — especially when it’s an “out-of-order” or sudden death — changes every aspect of your life.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack is hauntingly beautiful.

The meaning of life is love.  

Class of 1985

Rob Curry
AIDS Program Representative, Albany, New York

If you have an open mind and heart, the opportunities to make an impact on someone are limitless and endless.

Rob Curry ’85You don’t always have to be in the driver’s seat to really make a difference in someone’s life. Take a step back sometimes to listen.

Take advantage of opportunities that weren’t planned and really create your own narrative and story.

I’d tell today’s students to be open to experiences that will help you paint your own canvas and use them to grow as a person.

Things are different today. In my day, we looked for commonality among one another. Today’s students celebrate diversity; they don’t just tolerate it.

Diversity keeps the university community and our larger com-munity changing and evolving.

College is a microcosm of society.

Take time to be reflective. Don’t think linearly.

UD is a living organism. It’s not static. It’s dynamic and we should all be looking at what we can do for UD and how we can make an impact rather than what UD can do for us.

It’s important to leave our world and our communities in better conditions than they were before, for the next generation.

Class of 1984

Bob Saum
International Development Executive, Washington, D.C.

Life is short. Take risks.

Bob Saum ’84There is beauty everywhere in the world. People are people, with the same dignity and human capacity, no matter where and in what circumstances, from refugee camps to natural disasters to war zones.

Find your passion and follow it. Mine has taken me to live in London, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, East Jerusalem, India and Afghanistan.

I don’t like beets, okra or roasted goat organs (no matter how much of an honor it is to be served them in Tanzania).
Respect everyone. God loves us all.

Find what makes you laugh and then laugh a lot. It is OK to cry, too.

Among what I learned in four-and-a-half years in Kabul as World Bank country director: 1) How to distinguish between marble tiles falling onto my balcony and a bomb explosion or oncoming rockets exploding. 2) Listen to your body guards. 3) Boxed wine from the grocery tastes just fine, especially when served from a nice decanter. 4) Many official dinner parties at my residence in Kabul ended around the outdoor fire ring introducing the joys of S’mores — S’mores and a fire are international icebreakers.

Class of 1983

Barbara Lieser Sturgeon
Elected Official and Realtor, Franklin, Tennessee

I am always looking for new challenges. I get bored with the same old thing — after about three years I am ready to do something else.

Barb Sturgeon ’83Hospitality is a very undervalued talent — it is what holds our com-munities together. Being able to open your door and to let your children’s friends know they can come and have a sandwich whenever they want, that they can have a safe haven at your house, that is priceless and intangible.

I got a chemical engineering job about a year after I graduated by answering ads in the newspaper. Today’s students should know once you get your first year behind you, you are way more marketable.

Too often people check out. When you don’t stay involved you become ruled instead of self-governed.

As long as I am learning new stuff I am happy.

The Founding Fathers were way smarter than I thought they were.

How do you balance life? I haven’t figured it out yet. You do what you have to do when you have to do it. You just do the best you can at squeezing everything in.

Class of 1982

Julie M. Elman
Professor, Artist, Athens, Ohio

Fear is so universal. I think just about everyone can relate to talking about it and thinking about it, and I find it rewarding to ex-plore this topic with my artwork — I think fear should be more out in the open than it is.

Julie Elman ’82Early to bed or late to rise? Early to bed. Late to rise is not an option — we have dogs!

When it comes to fear, I think it’s important for people to under-stand that they are not alone in order for them to move forward and grow as a person.

What else gets me out of bed in the morning? My students. I am excited about seeing the projects my design students are working on, the progress they make with their work, the “ah ha” moments that they might have.

I tell my students: “Keep it simple and dare to take visual risks, all the while keeping the story in mind.” I say that a lot. I’m sure they have nightmares about it.

My most prized possession is my banjo. I’ve been playing claw-hammer style banjo for maybe six or seven years now. I value it because of the music I can create with it and the community I am a part of when I play it.

Class of 1981

Sarkis Abdallah
Sales Manager, Byblos, Lebanon

Studying abroad, at the time I went to UD, was difficult due to the civil war in Lebanon. And, of course, it was difficult living alone. Having to take responsibility for everything you do will teach you how to be an independent decision-maker. You do make mistakes, but you learn.

Sarkis Abdallah ’81I find nothing is impossible to achieve if you focus on your target.

Love is respect, trust, caring, sharing good moments, sacrifice and true, close friendship.

My father taught me that education has no frontier and is the best capital you can give to your children. He is the one who encouraged me and insisted I continue my education anywhere I like. Providing the best education possible for my children has been the true challenge of my life, and I am thankful two of my three children ended up at UD to continue their graduate programs.

Being away from my children breaks my heart, but their future is more important.

In my life, I like to help people wherever I can because it makes me happy to support people in solving their problems.

What makes me smile during a typical day at the Otis Elevator Co.: good news and getting the job done.

I find joy in the success of every single member of my family.

Class of 1980

Linda McClure Rumpke
Energy Industry Executive, Lexington, Kentucky

The most valuable piece of career advice I ever received: Do not allow this role and all that comes with it to define you as a person and a leader. You are merely a steward of the position. Focus on how you can improve the organization and the manner in which you will eventually pass the baton. This will be your legacy — not the title.

Linda Rumpke ’80Have patience with yourself and others.

My grandmother showed me the first glimpse that you could have a career AND a family. She taught herself how to type and rose up from the ranks of an entry-level clerk at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to retire as a general’s executive administrator. She worked long days and then came home and took care of her family. She lived to be 103½ years old. Her determination, work ethic and desire to succeed helped shape me as a female professional and a person.

I’m a perfectionist, and I’m very hard on myself. I have to work hard every day not to project that onto others, as no one can be perfect.

Marriage is never a straight 50/50 proposition. There is an ebb and flow. Being willing to be 90/10 on days that your spouse needs it most is important, as is knowing that they will do the same for you.

Value diversity in all its forms.

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