Paul K. Mikules Bicentennial Medal Speech
Paul K. “Kelly” Mikules, C’67
Bicentennial Medal Acceptance Speech
June 20, 2008
San Diego, California
Thank you, Dr. Powell,
Board of Trustees.
Thank you, Mount St. Mary’s.
But, most of all, thank you to those who are here tonight, especially my family of Michele, Bryan, Kate and Chloe, but particularly, Carol, my wife of over 42 years. In fact, we will celebrate our 43rd year on July 17 of this year.
This medal, according to the introduction letter, is awarded for leadership, loyalty and generosity. Of these characteristics, loyalty is the most important characteristic for me.
To my wife I have been married for 42 years, and to the Mount I began my journey some 45 years ago, and to think that I am standing before you today and receiving this Bicentennial Medal is such an honor.
Leadership is subjective. Generosity is variable. But as my good Professor Dr. Richards would say, loyalty is quantitative!
Yes, I am loyal to the Mount. Some of my best years were at the Mount. I experienced many successes and many failures. I formed many friendships and had many good memories.
Speaking of memories, I would like to share one with you. When I went to the Mount we were an all men’s college. We had an exciting basketball program. But our cheer leading left something to be desired. So a group of about 20 of us formed a spirit group called the “Blue Guard.”
We wore blue helmets to distinguish ourselves. We would always sit behind the opposing team’s bench and when our team did well we would promptly stand and turn to the opposing side and give them the “proper salute.”
On several occasions, we even marched at half time to the delight of the Mount fans. One day, I was summoned to Fr. Fives’ office and without much discussion was told to disband the “Blue Guard” or be disbanded myself. I only had to be told once.
But this was all part of the Mount experience. For these memories and many more, I want to believe I am loyal to the Mount! As far as generosity is considered, I will let others determine that.
But I did establish an endowed scholarship in the name of Carol Mikules, my wife. This scholarship is for the survivors of 9/11, their children or the children of military personnel. You see, Carol was scheduled to be on American Flight 77 on 9/11/01. She knew the flight attendants because she regularly took this flight. For some good reason this time she changed flights and was spared the crash into the Pentagon. We felt we had to do something.
Also, Dr. Powell explained to me on one of his trips that he was trying to build a new soccer/lacrosse field and I decided to name the men’s locker room in honor of my family.
Believe me, many have done much more.
I promised Dr. Powell I would not be long winded, but I want to say that although the Mount is not the largest (1,200 when I went there), and the Mount is not the oldest Catholic university (Georgetown holds that honor), and the Mount is not the most prestigious (maybe Stanford or Harvard), the Mount gave me the best education I could ever want! I can talk to anyone about anything, at any time and never feel unprepared. Thank you Mount St. Mary’s.
However, it bothers me that the Mount’s endowment is so paltry when you consider it is 200 years old and in comparison to the endowments of Gettysburg, Hood or Catholic University.
Dr. Powell has set an ambitious goal of $75 million. Now it is up to us to help – some will help, all should help! Mount St. Mary’s University is a necessary entity to the fabric and culture of this society. If we take our responsibility seriously, the successor to Dr. Powell 100 years from now will select others to receive Tricentennial Medals.
May Mount St. Mary’s University live on and may loyalty to its pillars of Faith, Discovery, Leadership and Community be a tradition for years to come. Thank you.