Thursday, December 5, 2013

Celebrating Leadership

Dr. Dale Lunsford with Ben LeTourneau, R.G. LeTourneau's son
Leadership has been on my mind this week.

Monday we marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of our founder with a special chapel and grave site ceremony. This week we also learned of the passing of Hazel Hickey, a dear friend to LeTourneau University and a leader in our community. Today, I had the privilege of giving the keynote message at the Emerging Leaders Award ceremony in Longview where "under age 40" emerging leaders were recognized.

Leadership comes in all generations and genders.

RG LeTourneau led with a passion for progress, a loud, booming voice and commanding presence. Hazel Hickey was considerate and soft-spoken but consistently effective in settings most often dominated by men in leadership roles. The three emerging leaders recognized today (Kristen Ishihara, Melanie Northcutt Crocker and Stephanie Wolford) are each unique but all influential in their spheres of influence. You can read more about them in the Longview News-Journal.

A 125th birthday website has been created to honor our founder on his 125th birthday. You can see Monday's chapel and also a number of short videos that have been produced to honor Mr. LeTourneau's legacy in technology and in ministry. On the website, you can see a video about LETU alumnus Bob Walker who is living out the LeTourneau legacy every day in his Walker Manufacturing in Fort Collins, Colo.

Fred Smith wrote about the importance of having heroes. "We cannot fully live without heroes.  A society writes its diary by naming its heroes. We individuals do the same." 

Both RG LeTourneau and Hazel Hickey are heroes of mine.  They lived full lives, made themselves available for leadership and honored God in the difference they made. They might have been very different in personality but they were alike in persistence. As we are taught in Philippians 3, "pressing on toward the goal" is a characteristic all leaders share.