Have you ever been recognized for your dedication to a project, someone or something? Yesterday my dad was awarded by Methodist University for his outstanding service.
He graduated from Methodist in 1965 and has worked tirelessly since then as an alumni, as a trustee, and a board member to make Methodist an even better place. It truly brings him joy to see the Universities growth and fires him up to think of its potential.
The day started with an awards ceremony in the auditorium, where my father and three other people were honored. Linda Huff, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award was first. She was introduced by President Hancock of the university. I listened as he spoke of her years of service to the school and to the community and watched as she fought back tears while listening. Next Dr. Clayton introduced my father as the award recipient for Outstanding Service. My heart grew and my eyes swelled with tears as I watched my father walk to the podium. I had not prepared myself for his humble acceptance words and I was overtaken with pride as I listened to his dreams for the university. I’ve always known without a doubt the importance of the school to my dad, but somehow I really missed the whole picture. Like my fathers love for his wife, family, church and community, Methodist University was and is a life long commitment. He loves this school so much! He told me that the prior night he had a young man walk up to him and thank him for giving him his Greatest Gift.
The Greatest Gift Scholarship is unique to the university in that an alumni can award this to a prospective student. My dad takes this responsibility very seriously. He knows the value of an education and he wants to see everyone do well.
Howard Hudson was also recognized as an outstanding alumni for his service to athletics at the university. He raises money through many avenues, but golf really is his thing. My favorite shared memory he spoke of was his first golf game where he teamed up with the then new President Hancock. He said he just wanted to get to know the president. He said he found out first that he was a terrible golfer, but he said by the third hole he’d found out what truly mattered. He asked the president what pushed him each day and the presidents reply was, “creation” to which Mr. Hudson questioned what he meant by that. President Hancock told him the sparks he saw each day in students eyes…the creation that was happening in them each day. I’d say this guy is a keeper, too.
Lastly, Pastor William Walker was presented with the Outstanding Faculty Award. He was introduced by Mrs. Munoz, a colleague of his. At this point, I think everyone in the audience had already broken out their tissues and hankies, but this last introduction took the cake. This man is Dean of Student Affairs and it’s a job that can make you loved while simultaneously make you not so loved. It takes an extremely fair person to sit in his chair. The reverence in his voice as he humbly accepted his award was enough to make the toughest of men cry.
After the awards ceremony, we were all invited to attend a special luncheon at the Burns Center. The food was delicious! Being that it was also homecoming weekend, the excitement in the air was palpable. The kiddos got their faces painted while we waited for Mom and dad to finish their tv interview. I assume one of the universities Fine Art majors was doing them, because wow! See for yourself:
After lunch we were invited to join mom and dad in the Presidents box to watch the football game. They had great food, drinks, and free swag. I watched my husband as he and President Hancock gave each other high fives throughout the game and felt a little giddy. My dad’s brother and wife joined us for the day and I loved watching them cheer on MU together.
My sister and I gushed with pride as so many came up to us to tell us how wonderful our dad was and how much he is appreciated. Of course we have always known how great our dad is, but it sure is nice to see him honored for it. Selfie time:
At halftime they introduced dad on the field and the tears welled again. My heart is so full of pride for this man. This man I’m blessed to call my dad. He inspires me to be a better person. I love you dad!