51. Phi Beta Delta: Saying Thank You

Oh, it's a busy world and so often we mean to say thank you but don't. We take a lot for granted. People help and support international programs, they give time and effort, and we know that, but we don't say thank you. You can say danke, merci, arigato or gracias, you can write a letter and you can even give a hug. You should. We all should, more often.

But when you confer the medal of our society, you are going further and you are really letting the initiate know that they are on the right road, that they have their values about international education in the right place, and that you want to give them the recognition that they deserve. You validate the choices a student has made, and you recognize the contributions a more senior person has made.

All of us get additional steam from being thanked. All of us, if we are truthful have been hurt or sad because we were trying hard but nobody responded with appreciation. Phi Beta Delta is many things, but at its heart, and the center of its life, is the conferring of recognition.

When we give the medal, we are telling people that they count. We are telling them that the community knows that they count. And this is not simply window dressing. It is critical to a healthy institution: our universities and colleges sometimes forget to say thank you and we are all the poorer for it. Phi Beta Delta is the penultimate way to say thanks.

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