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Courageous Leadership

Dr William Foege is an American physician and epidemiologist who is credited “with devising the global strategy that led to the eradication of smallpox in the late 1970s” He was the Director for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 1977 - 1983, Executive Director of the Carter Center 1986 - 1992, Senior Fellow, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Professor Emeritus, Rollins School of Public Health among other things. Dr Foege is also a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University (1957) and served on the Board of Regents from 1997 - 2006. He maintains a deep relationship with the university and continues to live out the core mission and values rooted deeply in the education provided in the Lutheran context.

So, it was with great interest Loren and I ran across the following article on Tuesday evening. Regardless of political persuasions, the letter to the current CDC director from Dr Foege illustrates courageous leadership. It is from that lens you are encouraged to view the article and the letter here.

Brenè Brown defines courage as a teachable, observable and measurable skill set (Dare To Lead):

Rumbling with Vulnerability

Living Into Values

Braving Trust

Learning to Rise

Courage from the old French cour is a heart word. It originally meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” We would argue that the letter to Dr. Redfield of the CDC was a courageous act built on the foundation of a lifetime of leading some of the most important global health initiatives and institutes of our time.

Our personal experience of and with Dr Foege is that he has built a life of following the

questions, deeply living into his values, engendering trust with an extraordinary base of knowledge and ability to build relationships. He brought that skill set to PLU as a Regent - caring deeply about the mission and the models that would allow the university to deliver on the mission to new generations of students.

These are charged and difficult times. Each of us grapples with how to show up for good

midst all that is going on. Take a moment - read the article through the lens of courage - and be inspired.

MaryAnn Anderson

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