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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 10: Attribute


I wanted to update you about your legacy. Today we were informed that the UO is awarding you your master’s degree posthumously. Amazing. You indeed are a rare person and this gesture from the university is incredible. We also met with the development folk from the Lundquist College of Business and only wish you had been in the conversation rather than the conversation being about you. The order of words and prepositions continue to play cruel tricks on us. Speaking of words, KT, we were asked by Kurt and Bob, two outstanding UO folk on the field with you, to begin thinking about conveying your life in a way that was uplifting for students and could keep you in our lives forever.

The subject line can jump between being a commanding verb to being a reflective noun. As your sister well knows, I rarely use the word ‘or’ and much prefer ‘and’ as it’s more inclusive. Flash back to when Sev, Linda, and I had just finished a long desert hike north of Phoenix near Cave Creek. As we headed to a restaurant, Sev said “I’m really thirsty but don’t know if I should get a cold Coors or a cold Coke.” I looked at her said, “Why not just get both, a cold Coors and a cold Coke.” Sold! ‘and’ is the mantra and helps avoid difficult choices. So this letter is about ‘attribute’ both the verb and the noun. As Marshall McLuhan, who quipped many a quote in his day, once said “I may be wrong, but I’m never in doubt.” So here’s to you KT man: We are attributing (verb) the following nine attributes (noun) to you…

Competition is not (just) about winning, it’s about being on your game.

Why not just smile. It’s the best part of the day.

Kindness is cool. It lets you experience things you never would have.

Call your mom every day and tell her you love her.

Sometimes you just have to show your dad what to do. He’ll get it eventually. Or not.

Respect and listening are two sides of the same coin.

Sports and life are the same word spelled differently.

Just let me show you what I can do. It’ll surprise us both.

Disadvantage is a state of mind that can be overcome.

In the end, the SPM program will step in with these attributes as part of the admission of someone to be on the scholarship in your name: Their admission process obviously worked well for you. In anticipation of sitting down with the selected student, we will see these attributes. We saw them in you; they were in the outpouring of emails from your classmates; and they were noted by everyone you touched with your life.


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