“Develop a Generation of Impact”, Dr. George McLendon, Chemistry

I think our primary job is to develop a next generation of impact. Rather I prefer that to using the word “leaders,” which tends to be confusing because it tends to suggest a hierarchical model, which I don’t intend. A phrase that I’ve always liked, is to develop a generation of people who will live ‘lives of consequence’ that their choices (your choices) will enrich not only your own life and those of your immediate family and friends; They may also enrich a larger and more diverse community. I don’t think it matters that much in choosing how you wish to impact the world, whether you do that as a Steve Jobs business leader, or you do that as the best elementary school teacher in the world, or you do that as a sociologist, or you do that as a cancer researcher. It does matter that we’ve equipped you with more than a set of narrow technical skills. I don’t trivialize technical skills; chemists without technical skills blow things up, so it’s really good to have good technical skills. Nonetheless, it’s not the technical skills that are likely to have a catalytic impact on those around you. It’s also your sense of values, it’s your ability to articulate opportunities and possibilities for yourself and others. There’s a whole set of soft skills that accompany the more technical skills that determine your ability to live the life you would’ve chosen.