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Lessons Learned XII

Lessons Learned XII

Alumni October 20, 2022
A continuing reflection on life acquired in and out of the classroom — from the classes of 1982 and 2001.

Laughter is contagious

John Siehl ’82
General studies
Vice president of risk management, VenuWorks
Vandalia, Ohio


I get a great deal of joy from my family, my friends and just waking up every morning!

John SiehlThe most solid advice I ever received was on one of my first days at work when I was 16 years old. I asked the supervisor “What should I do?” when I was placed is a customer service position. The short answer was, “Do the right thing.” With that he walked away, and I treated the public as I would like to be treated.

Seeing others laugh is contagious. Life in general, makes me laugh. What a wonderful opportunity. Not to say that it’s all fun and games, but feeling free to laugh – even at one’s self – is paramount to a life well lived.  

Life in general, makes me laugh. What a wonderful opportunity. 

I have five brothers and a sister, many cousins and other relatives, all who’ve given me tidbits of wisdom that I have packed away in some bubby hole in my brain for the day I need it. Family has been the driving force in my life. As I ventured into the working world, I was able to develop friendships and long-term relationships that broadened my familial experience. 

Being a good friend means being there. Doing the right thing. Being solid with the relationship. It’s like a narrow country road; sometime you have to move over, stop to help, or just enjoy the ride.

Being a good friend means being there.

My career has given me the opportunity to meet many celebrities. Two such encounters with mega stars that made me feel comfortable and included in their world are Reba McIntyre and Garth Brooks. I ran into Reba after having met her the year before, and she greeted me by name, with a big smile and said, “Hi John, how are you, it’s been a while.” Wow! Garth Brooks did the same several years later backstage at a show, remembering my name and the first time we met. I will never forget those, but must also mention the genuine nature of Howie Mandel and Judy Collins. When I met them, we talked for a long time as if we had been friends for years.

Sometimes we need to be reminded to take a breath. React after you have thought about what the answer would be if the roles were reversed. Always remember you don’t know what someone else is dealing, functioning or living with. Listen and respond with true compassion.

Keep the mind open. Every day makes you stronger and better-equipped to serve your role in the world.

I kicked the old “bucket list” years ago. I’ve been there and done that in so many ways. Every day has been an adventure. Some I would never want to repeat, but I play the odds, and those good days are way over 99%-plus of my life. Now every day fills the bucket a bit more, even if it’s as simple as a smile from my grandchildren.

As my friend Garth says, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

Be kind. Be patient. Tip well.

Linda Turk ’01, ’06
Bachelor’s in philosophy, Master’s in English rhetoric and composition
Events director, Rise Brands
Columbus, Ohio 


The “Mini Village” is the best group of women. The 14 of us met at UD, and we span multiple A group of friends known as "mini village"graduation years, which is also amazing. When we see each other it’s like no time has passed. We hug, talk, laugh, cry, yell over each other and genuinely feel so full of love after we spend time together. The sense of support and unconditional love from these women knows no bounds.

I’m passionate about a lot of things: My family and friends. Good music, great books, and writing. I am VERY passionate about equality. It’s important to work together so people can be “equal to” rather than “less than.”

One of my favorite things in the world is my mom’s spaghetti sauce. There is an inherent sense of comfort in a Sunday pasta dinner with homemade sauce, meatballs and fresh bread from the Italian grocery on the corner by my parents’ house.

One of my favorite things in the world is my mom’s spaghetti sauce.

I love baking bread. There is something very therapeutic in dough. My grandmother baked bread every week growing up, so I feel closer to her when I make it.

I was able to return to UD as an educator, and I found that the students who come to UD tend to be people who find relationships in a strong sense of community. Obviously there have been changes to the campus, which keeps the University competitive, but I’m glad to know that relationships and community are still such a strong part of the UD experience.

A good hike through the woods does something to soothe the soul.

My time spent in the service industry taught me a lot of valuable lessons. I learned I could handle just about anything thrown at me. My advice to all: Give service people the benefit of the doubt. They are (usually) overworked, overstressed and are likely missing out on time with their family to serve yours because they choose to do so. Be kind. Be patient. Tip well.

When you are going through a rough time, remember that tomorrow is another day. It may offer a bit more light, a bit less stress, a bit more goodness. Even when it’s hard to think about coming through something on the other side, it’s a good reminder to have.

When you are going through a rough time, remember that tomorrow is another day.

I think today’s young people have such an understanding of love, equality and the importance of our environment. It gives me hope that there are lot of smart, passionate and determined young advocates who are ready to make our world a better place. They work hard, try new things, and speak up and act on the things that matter to them without boundaries or prejudice. We can all learn from them.

Let go of the worry. Give another hug. Make another call. Take another trip. Love hard and well. Take a nap. Read a book. Do more yoga.  Sing and dance with your friends. Go visit UD.


Thanks to Jeaneen Parsons for compiling Lessons Learned all these years. Enjoy your retirement!  

Be around good people