Integrity Matters
March 8, 2006

Students full of optimism

Question: (E-229)

Dear Jim:

I learned you spoke last month on a college campus about integrity in leadership. How were your remarks received?


On Feb. 10-11, on the suburban Chicago campus of my alma mater, Elmhurst College, student leaders asked me to discuss their "integrity in leadership" concerns.

Student frustrations seem the same as they were 42 years ago when I started college: food, grades, discipline, the future, people with power - business or politics - and autonomy. Some of their other concerns:

  • What can be done to blunt student apathy?
  • How does one discover an integrity-centered place to work?
  • What does it take to get those in power to listen?
  • How do you, Jim Bracher, maintain enthusiasm for the integrity message in the face of tremendous resistance by a society that appears self-absorbed, oblivious, or worse, unwilling to even pretend to care about doing the right thing?
  • What is an honorable profession, now that law, government, religion, education and business have been tainted by scandals?
  • Who exhibits integrity - and how can we identify them when we meet them?
  • Can powerful people be trusted?
  • Did your efforts on social issues, in the 1960s make a difference, long term?
  • Why should we put ourselves under stress? Pressure has ruined the lives of lots of folks we see, who are older. Many of them seem to lack financial security. Even some of those who might be well-off appear bitter and frustrated.

Elmhurst College student leaders remain optimistic. They smile, study, think, formulate questions, take notes and seem ready to find their opportunities to become productive.

As teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe said, before dying in the Challenger space shuttle disaster, "I touch the future, I teach."

Learn from her. Return to your own alma mater or a local college or university campus. Teach a class: for an hour, a day, a week or a semester.

Go, listen and learn about the enthusiasm of the next generation. Touch the future, teach! Experience their optimism, renewing your own hope.

Home Page | About Us | Ask Bracher | Services | Resources | Contact Us

©Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
1400 Munras Avenue ~ Monterey, California 93940