If you attended last night's scholarship gala in the beautiful atrium of the new wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, you know the meaning of the word beautiful. The setting was spectacular. Colorful decorations. Wonderful friends of the Institute gathered to support us. The Degas exhibit. Great words from people who care deeply about what we do every day. Smart, remarkable students being recognized. A thought provoking video that will go viral in the next 24 hours. Faculty and staff everywhere (and all looking handsome and beautiful). It was remarkable. What a celebration of the Institute community and our story! There are so many great stories and images from this year's annual scholarship gala to make it memorable.
One moment that I will always remember was the riveting performance by our own Joan Blue. Joan, an accomplished vocalist and longtime staff member in our School of Nursing, has lent her talents to the gala for the past three years. She has performed with grace and inspiration and made each year's gala more memorable. I looked with anticipation to Joan's performance for this year's gala. Where would she be placed? What would the song be? Everyone who has been to previous scholarship galas probably knows what I mean. Joan is good and it is such a treat to hear her use her talent to the Institute's benefit. She is amazing.
President Bellack introduced Joan. She was beautifully positioned on a landing framed by glass above the audience. The music, a sound track, started. Joan began to sing. After the first few lines of the song, her words started to fade a bit. Joan held her hand up signaling to the person controlling the sound system to stop. "There's an echo up here"she said, "let's start again." Tense waiting. The music started again. Joan started to sing. Again, she waved her hand gently, signaling another pause. Immediately my mind went to feelings of concern for Joan, wondering how she would end this gracefully. Actually, I am sure that I was thinking "what would I do in this situation?" "How would I deal with this?" No worry. Joan sweetly and with that remarkable smile invited us to join her in singing a capella. She started the song, sang the song without any background music, and the audience was treated to Joan's remarkable talent in its most pure form. She never missed a note, filling the room with a beautiful sound She maintained her grace and beauty. She made the moment work. Four hundred Institute guests were treated and inspired at the same time. Joan's performance was beautiful.
In reflecting a bit on this occurrence, I am reminded that we all have the chance to be teachers. Joan's lesson for us was about using our talents to achieve their intended purpose regardless of what little obstacles might come our way. I'm going to keep thinking about that lesson as I move through the semester. I invite you to join me in thanking Joan for being such a good teacher for all of us. And the next time you are distracted by the "echo" I hope that you just keep on moving toward your intended purpose.