Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Faithful Leadership in Today's World

There are millions of leaders in the world. They are a people with power, presence and reputation. But faithful leadership is rare—a radical idea that power is not just a possession or tool but a privilege. Faithful leadership requires selflessness and humility and must be used responsibly to inspire a new generation of leaders.

Recently Gordon honored some faithful leaders at the annual Celebration of Leadership. The Loring and Patton families each exemplify faithful leadership in their everyday lives through their legacy of philanthropy and service in Greater Boston along with significant contributions to social service organizations, education, and important causes. It is this kind of unique leadership that called Gordon to honor three members of the Loring family—Caleb Loring Jr., Caleb Loring III and Bronwyn E. Loring ’87—as well as Joanne Holbrook Patton with the College's most prestigious leadership award for public service, the George F. Bennett Leadership Award.

Many in the Gordon community, as well as across the North Shore, owe a great deal of thanks to the Loring family for their faithful leadership. They have helped establish hospitals, libraries and museums; endowed public and private educational institutions; supported the fine arts including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Arboretum Park Conservatory; and have been very supportive in their dedication to increase the intellectual capital in the region. Caleb Loring Jr., patriarch of the Loring family, has also extended his philanthropic heart and leadership to assist the Salvation Army; St. John’s Episcopal Church; and to establish a United Way for North Shore. The Lorings also further higher education by giving generously to both Harvard and Gordon College.

Joanne Holbrook Patton is also a faithful leader. She is the owner of a certified organic farm, Green Meadows, which was founded by her late husband, Major General George S. Patton IV. Over her lifetime, she has risen to important leadership roles in non-profit organizations including the National Military Family Association; the North Shore Music Theatre; The American Red Cross; and Sweet Briar College. The North Shore Red Cross, the U.S. Army and the North Shore Chamber of Commerce have each honored Patton for her charitable work and a legacy of service to others.

Former White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush, Andrew Card, served as the evening's keynote speaker. Card, acting dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, has been in several faith-testing leadership positions and provided personal insight on the value of faith in positions of power. Card shared how the parallel lines of politics and faith often intersected for him, as he recalled his service for Bush administration. He told the audience how his position as chief of staff was grounded in the security of his faith and how each day he would accept the challenges of change laid before him. "To be a qualified leader, one must be grounded in faith.”

The Celebration of Leadership also provided a forum to introduce a new generation of leaders to the many community partners in attendance. Thirty Gordon student ambassadors engaged with members of Gordon's extended network and community. Looking out at the many students in attendance, Bonny Loring, one of the evening's honorees. shared, “it is important these students remain dependent on God and follow His lead and always remember that this looks different for everyone.”

Last year's Celebration of Faithful Leadership honored George F. Bennett—longtime leader in Boston’s financial world—as the inaugural recipient of the George F. Bennett Leadership Award. The annual event raises support for scholarships for Gordon students.

Blogger: Mac Gostow ’13. Mac is a communication arts major from California and a student writer in the Office of College Communications  at Gordon College. With a double minor in business administration and sociology, Mac has interned for CBS News in New York City, is a founder of ScotRadio, performs with the Sweaty-Toothed Madmen improv troupe, and served as a show host for KURadyo in Istanbul, Turkey. As he graduates from Gordon this Saturday, this is his final blog post as a Gordon student.

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