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Dreaming is important

September 9, 2010

PLU President Loren J. Anderson urges students to ‘Dream big and dream often.’

Dream outrageously and work hard to attain your goals, President Anderson tells students

By Barbara Clements

Dream. Dream big, dream often, and dream of how you will solve problems of the world with your vision, persistence and unstoppable enthusiasm.

That was the challenge that President Loren J. Anderson gave to the first-year class, as well as all those assembled Tuesday at Pacific Lutheran University’s opening day Convocation ceremony.

PLU is a place “for dreaming, for imagining what might be and each year our campus is energized by those who dare to dream and act boldly, and in many cases, achieve the totally unexpected,” Anderson told the assembly of over 800 students, staff and faculty this week.

“We have a remarkable group of dreamers here.”

More to the point – Anderson highlighted two groups that took everyone by surprise this year as they gained national recognition for pursing to very diverse goals. One group chased Frisbees; the other sang on key before millions.

To wit, Anderson took time to honor PLU’s Ultimate Frisbee team, who won the national championship for ultimate Frisbee. Then Anderson moved on to honor a group of self-proclaimed geeks, the a cappella group PLUtonic, who through the YouTube voting won a slot on America’s Got Talent. The group sang before a viewing audience of 12 million in mid-August.

“I wanted you to meet these two groups because they are comprised of serious students who have also discovered that pursuing a great dream is just plain fun,” Anderson said.

But he urged students to ponder serious dreams as well, as they start their college careers.

“This is a time to dream, to imagine and to plan and prepare for your future,” he told the first-year students. “College is not a place you come to stay, but it is a passage place, a preparing place.”

Anderson told of meeting the first-year students at the Gonyea House reception and recalled many had said they wanted to be teachers, engineers, nurses and businesses leaders. PLU is a place to begin moving those dreams toward reality, he said.  Anderson also reminded the students that dreams don’t simply just “come true.” Often there is much work involved before the dream finally becomes a reality, he said.

Dreams require a commitment to excellence, testing the dream in the real-world environment and engaging the dream – or in other words, practice, practice, practice, he said.

Quoting from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Outliers,” Anderson said that very successful people don’t simply pop out of the box that way. But rather, they usually encounter a unique opportunity and work very hard at their craft. Before Bill Gates Jr. became a billionaire, he snuck out of his room to work at computers at his high school. The Beatles first booked gigs in dingy small clubs in Germany, for up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

He encouraged the students to find a topic, a passion that “really excites you, that taps into your passions and that…meets the world’s great need.”

“We have all been summoned to excel,” he concluded. “It is that great vision for your life that is at the heart of  a PLU education. That is our dream today.”