Friday, September 9, 2011

Last Lecture by a Legend and Mentor

Dr. William Bondeson recently retired after teaching philosophy, medical ethics and humanities for 50 years at the University of Missouri. He truly defined the term Renaissance Man. Words cannot express the impact that this man had on my life and my career. The University of Missouri Honors College is truly a hidden gem, and among the greatest academic programs in the country. When I was considering colleges, Dr. Polansky, the recently retired Director of the Honors College, took me to Shakespeare's Pizza (how appropriate) on a high school campus visit. Dr. Bondeson happened to cross our path on the way and joined us for lunch. The conversation that ensued was unlike anything I had ever heard. The topics spanned the upcoming basketball season to the pasta served at the University Club with a healthy serving of philosophy and literature sprinkled in.  My college decision was sealed after that meal. 

Over the years at Mizzou, I was lucky enough to have Dr. Bondeson for six courses. He invited his students into his home, chatted with us on campus and invited theatrical performers for us to experience. I returned often, I volunteered at every chance to help recruit the best and brightest to Mizzou. I stayed passionate about the things he taught us. In short, he helped inspire me to care about gaining knowledge for knowledge sake. This emphasis on breadth of knowledge has served me better than any other specialty class or training.  

The following lecture is long, but well worth the time. I will leave you with one thought. 
Understanding the origins of ideas, the ideals of man, the philosophy and values through history and the role that the arts play in all aspects of our lives is the single most important knowledge you can possess. That knowledge allows you to understand the world around you and simply makes you better at anything you do in life. There are things you can memorize. There are things you can learn. Then there are things you must experience.   
The unexamined life is not worth living. -- Socrates
Hopefully you have had a mentor like Dr. Bondeson in your life. If not, soak up a bit of the wisdom of Bill and then seek our your own  great mentor. Enjoy... 

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