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Ad courtesy of American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. BOX 2608, WACO, TEXAS 76797, 817-772-3050 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer SERVICE CAME FIRST BY BERNARD RAPOPORT It has been a wonderful ride! Six years in which one is given a magnificent opportunity to contribute to what is so vitally importantthe education of youngsters. Ser vice on the Board of Regents is a serious challenge to anyone who accepts the appointment. This is not the time or place to recount the accomplishments or failures during one’s tenure. There is a record and it speaks more loudly than words. For me, the experience on the Board has been wonderfully exciting! I have learned so much. I guess the most important thing is that you can work with people from all different walks of life with seemingly differentyes, even oppositepoints of view. When there is a common purpose, somehow differences diminish, almost disappear. There is a congealing of a singleness of effort to achieve in a committed way what is best for the institution. My six years have indicated that it doesn’t make any difference if one was liberal, conservative, or in-between when it comes to the University of Texas System and its components. Those individual predilections were dwarfed by the acceptance, by one and all, of the singleness of purpose in making certain that those who were in attendance at U.T. System schools would get a great education. Theodore Roosevelt could have had my fellow regents in mind when he said, “A blind and ignorant resistance to every effort for the reform of abuses and for the readjustment of society to modern industrial conditions represents not true conservatism, but an incitement to the wildest radicalism; for wise radicalism and wise conservatism go hand in hand, one bent on progress, the other bent on seeing that no change is made unless in the right direction.” I remember the first Regents’ meeting I attended. Louis Beecherl was chairman. Tex Moncrief, Robert Cruikshank, Tom Loeffler, Mario Ramirez and Sam Barshop were on the board. Then three new appointees Ellen Temple, Zan Holmes and myself. The thought quickly came to mind; six conservatives, three liberals, what is going to happen? Immediately, during this first meeting, I recognized that service on the board required putting ideology aside, and focusing on what we were really aboutthe mission to which I have alluded. That is the way this board works, and it is to the credit of all with whom I have served that no one has ever wavered in recognizing that service came first. It gave me an opportunity to return a little to an institution to which I owed so very much. I know that all who have been in service to an institution such as the U.T. System would like to make reference to the great things that have been accomplished. For me, I am satisfied with Mother Teresa’s response when being awarded the Nobel Prize and the panegyrists exclaimed the great things she had done in her unique way. She paralyzed that audience with a simple statement, “We don’t do great things; we do little things with great love.” All those with whom I have served have been imbued with this philosophy; we didn’t want to shake up the world; we just wanted to make sure that the youngsters who were in attendance at the institutions that comprise the U.T. System had an opportunity for a great education. The four years I have spent as Chairman have been wonderful and as I turn the gavel over to another, I do it in the spirit that it is so poignantly expressed by William L. Shirer, with a leveling reminder that we are, indeed, all replaceable: “Faith in immortality was born of the greed of unsatisfied people who make unwise use of the time that nature has allotted us. But the wise man finds his lifespan sufficient to complete the full circle of attainable pleasures, and when the time of death comes, he will leave the table, satisfied, freeing a place for other guests. For the wise man, one human fife is sufficient, and a stupid man will not know what to do with eternity.” MARCH 28, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15