Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Wisest One Of All

At one of the premier private universities in the world, there was a huge celebration to open the new Great Hall, which from then on would be the center of learning for its many students.

It was an ornate, towering facility magnificent to the eye, and built at enormous expense.

After the formal dedication, the university staff and professors mingled with the attendees, one of whom was a soft spoken, humble man of 90 years of age.

"Please share with me one of Shakespeare's stories," he requested of an English professor. But when the professor saw this man knew little of Shakespeare, he replied, "You're not really qualified," and walked away.

Next the 90 year old approached an Economics professor and said, "Please tell me how you make your business forecasts." But when the professor saw this man knew no advanced mathematics, he also replied, "You're not qualified.

He then walked over to the English professor and the two laughed aloud at the ignorance of this 90 year old man.

The next morning, the two professors were summoned to the office of the university president, a cordial 60 year old scholar everyone called "Dr. Mary."

But at this meeting, Dr. Mary was anything but cordial.

"You two amused yourselves yesterday at the expense of that lovely 90 year old man," Dr. Mary began as she looked sternly at the two professors.

"Do you have any idea who he is," she asked sharply, her voice rising almost to a shout. The two professors conceded they had no idea.

"He is the man who paid to have our new Great Hall built," Dr. Mary said sternly to them, both men shocked to hear this.

"But he was far too humble to take credit or even speak at the dedication ceremony." Dr. Mary continued. He used a considerable part of his fortune to pay for the Great Hall.

"Do you have any idea why," she asked. Neither man did.

"It was because he grew up during the Great Depression and had to quit school in the 6th grade to help support his family. Later, through very hard work and good fortune, he built a giant company, becoming vastly wealthy.

"But all of his life, he wished he had had the educational opportunities our students receive and he wanted to make that opportunity even better for them. In addition to the Great Hall, he anonymously funded some scholarships and some new teaching positions.

"So yes, he knows little of Shakespeare and of advanced mathematics. But English and Economics professors are in abundance, as are most professorships, and we can hire professors like you all day long.

"What is rare is a person so financially successful, that he can anonymously write checks to pay for all this. The only reason the two of you still have jobs here is this man insisted that you not be fired.

"Think about this the next time you look down your noses at someone who didn't have your educational opportunities, and thank your lucky stars you were shown respect that by your behavior you don't desreve.

"For in the end, through his wisdom and compassion, that man is the wisest one of all."

Dick Print Friendly and PDF

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