The Power of One—Plus Education
In two months, my niece MacKenzie will graduate from high school and begin to look ahead to her freshman year of college. During the past few weeks, the mail has arrived with letters—so far from schools in New York, Vermont, and North Carolina—filled with possibilities about what her future might hold. Her friends, too, are hearing from schools around the country and are weighing their options. It’s an exciting time in her life, poised between the known world of her family and high-school pals and a new life out there on the horizon, where she will become an independent adult.
One thing I know for sure is that MacKenzie will find a way to make life better for others. Already in her young years, she has spent time with her family volunteering for several weeks at an orphanage in Guatemala. She continues to raise funds for projects to help people in Haiti and was doing so even before the recent earthquake. She participated in a Youth Legislature project and also in a Governor’s School to gain leadership skills. These kinds of experiences are bound to be a great beginning for what’s ahead in her life.
This issue of Pitt Magazine—with its inspiring stories of service, human rights, leadership, and advanced learning—shows the power of a University education to leverage an individual’s ability to achieve meaningful outcomes. Here, you’ll read about an accomplished Nigerian woman who applies her Pitt-enhanced skills to help women with disabilities globally. You’ll see what can happen when a Pitt graduate takes the helm of a local paper and begins to focus on civil rights. You’ll meet a University alumnus who guides an international effort to ensure that effective leaders flourish, beginning with undergraduates. And you’ll learn about the rigors and results of PhD education through the story of a promising Pitt neuroscientist who also is a graduate student.
At one time, all of these Pitt people were teenagers looking toward the horizon. Some had more obstacles to overcome than others, but all pursued a future that was not self-centered or self-motivated. With the help of a University of Pittsburgh education, they would go on to create far brighter possibilities for many others.
These and other stories in this issue show how higher education can boost individual vision and a “call to service” in ways that can truly transform the world. I can’t wait to see what MacKenzie—and all of the freshmen of 2010—will achieve in the years ahead. Our planet can surely use the help.
Editor in Chief