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The Dean's Digest - December 2012

12/18/12 -  

With less than a week to go before Christmas, the pace is either picking up or slowing down depending on your preparations for the holiday.

If you still have shopping to do, gifts to wrap, cards to send, cookies to bake, a tree to trim, and countless other tasks on your to-do list, then these last few days before the Big Day are hectic and exciting. If, on the other hand, most of those activities are behind you, then you can slow down and enjoy the lights, festivities, food, and family traditions.

Slowing down is one of the hardest things to do. In university environments such as Queens, we are fortunate that classes in the semester system have a defined beginning and ending. Our fall semester has officially ended, all final exams, papers and projects have been administered, final grades submitted, and students and faculty have literally closed their books for a couple of weeks to concentrate on other matters. 

As our attention turns toward the holiday season please try to help those who are not as blessed as we are. Barbara and I were so impressed with recent newspaper stories about local organizations called Good Friends and Good Fellows that collectively raised over half-a-million dollars in short order to benefit the needy in our community. Bravo!

We can be good friends and good fellows as well by:

  • supporting the Empty Stocking Fund in Charlotte and seeing what a difference our contributions can make;
  • making an online contribution to that will enable communities world-wide to overcome poverty and hunger;
  • volunteering your time to one of the many organizations that need an extra pair of hands this time of year; or simply
  • donating your empty change to the Salvation Army kettles and thanking the bell ringers for standing in the cold, smiling and wishing us a good day.

There are so many ways to help others, some more involved than others, but helping others should be our mission in life. As faculty, we help our students succeed in the classroom and in life. As members of an extended family, we help our brothers and sisters, parents, children, spouses and relatives in times of need. And as members of society, we have opportunities every day to provide help and live the Queens motto ("Not to be served, but to serve").

If you don't have time to volunteer or money to support worthy causes, you can still inspire others around you with three simple actions: smile, say something nice, and slow down.

As 2012 draws to a close, I hope you and your family experience the meaning of the season - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

Ron Shiffler


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