Thursday, April 1, 2004

Glenn talks of integrity at Miami

By Nathan Eagle
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Former U.S. Sen. John Glenn spoke on "ethical leadership for a global future" in the inaugural lecture for the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute Wednesday night at Miami University.

"Looking at leadership is like looking at pornography. We can't define it, but we know it when we see it," Glenn said at the beginning of his lecture, after he delivered a series of laugh-out-loud jokes about being old. Glenn is 83.

Wilks, a Hamilton entrepreneur and retired lawyer, donated $5 million for the creation of the institute.

Miami President James Garland described Wilks as "one of those larger-than-life personalities that does nothing small and nothing small-minded," as he introduced Wilks.

Glenn's lecture, given for free, provided a definition of three basic characteristics of leaders, pulled from Douglas S. Freeman's biography of Robert E. Lee.

"First, know your stuff. Second, be a man or be a woman in the true sense of the word - honor, decency, integrity. Third, take care of the people you're trying to lead."

Glenn, also a decorated war veteran and astronaut, expressed concern that citizens fulfill the potential of the U.S. Constitution.

"We might as well take that paper and burn it on the front steps of the Archive Building ... unless, we have people willing to take those words on paper, and try to make them come true for every single person in this country."


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