We just celebrated the day set aside in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. So, how does one become a Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Leonard Bernstein, Orville Wright, John Steinbeck, Marie Curie, Pablo Picasso, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, T.S. Elliot, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney or Mark Zuckerberg?

Are great minds developed through somewhat normal circumstances or are they random accidents of nature that too rarely and briefly grace the world stage to tilt our collective energies toward new opportunities and challenges? More to the point, is the next King, Einstein or Jobs gracing the campus of Tennessee Tech? Let’s consider the possibility and ask: “What is the best way to nurture that latent potential to its full capability?”

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying: “Other people see things and say why? But I dream things that never were and I say, why not?” I observe at least one common characteristic among any group of great thought leaders. They all seem to have an absolutely insatiable curiosity about life. They all seem to understand that ultimately a really good question can be more valuable than a hundred answers.

That really good question typically drove these unique individuals to be revolutionary rather than evolutionary in their thinking. Their path was riskier, but often more rewarding. Big dreams can easily become daydreams or, even worse, nightmares without personal sweat equity. “Big dreams plus hard work” may sound overly simplistic, but it is the basic equation that often produces greatness.

On our campus, I see your hard work. Plus, a strong work ethic is already a proud tradition of Tennessee Tech graduates.

Now it is time to challenge ourselves to courageously and thoughtfully couple that hard work to big ideas. As TTU alumnus Barry Wilmore, commander of the International Space Station, told our December graduates: “Who knows where you may go?”

Go Eagles!

To see what Barry sees, click here!

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