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Do what makes you come alive

Do what makes you come alive

May 6, 2016 at 12:00am

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman


These words have been scrawled on a Post-it note taped to the side of my computer monitor for years. I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea who Thurman was; I knew only that his words resonated deeply with me from the first moment I read them. They still do.

I was inspired to learn more about Thurman when I thought about the common thread running throughout the stories of this issue. Sea-level rise. Arctic exploration. Brain research. Siblings studying medicine. Mining big data. Creating business opportunities for women in Haiti. Disparate subjects to be sure, but all of these stories have something in common: men and women who are following their hearts. Dare I say it? People who have come alive. And their utter dedication to their life’s passions makes this world a better place – and leaves me in awe.

That’s when I decided I needed to learn more about Howard Thurman.

It turns out that this spring (April 10, to be exact) marked the 35th anniversary of Thurman’s death. A native Floridian, Thurman was an influential African-American author, theologian, educator and civil rights mentor who was born in 1899. He was friends with the father of Martin Luther King Jr. and counseled the civil rights giant as he was shaping his philosophy of nonviolence. In 1953, Thurman became the dean of Boston University’s Marsh Chapel, the first black dean at a mostly white American university. He died in 1981.

I think that if Thurman were alive today he would approve of the work being done by the Panthers profiled in these pages. And I know that this is just a small sampling of the meaningful work being carried out every day by the students, faculty, staff and alumni of this great institution.

Are you doing what makes you come alive? If not, what are you waiting for?

Always Blue and Gold,

Karen Cochrane