By: President & Vice Chancellor Dr. Nancy W. Dickey on January 24, 2006
"The Future Awakened"
(The following address was entered into the Congressional Record on February 28, 2006. Please click here to view the tribute to Dr. Dickey in the Congressional Record.)
Today we are making history. We are assembled at this convocation not only to celebrate our accomplishments and honor our outstanding faculty but also to affirm the honorable principles that guide us toward our vision of excellence in medicine and the health-care professions.
Let this day forever be remembered as the day that the Texas A&M Health Science Center branded upon the world’s canvas our promise to change the lives of people around the globe with the most outstanding health education, compassionate care and superior science as we confidently fulfill the obligations of our sacred oaths. Let no one doubt that our faculty is composed of men and women who are devoted health-care professionals, educators and researchers of extraordinary competence and integrity. We believe that every human life is precious and that this great institution and its members are obligated and committed to providing everyone with the best care and leadership possible. Our care for the body is strengthened by our faith in the intrinsic worth of every human soul. Therefore, our current practices provide important and life-giving care to individuals, insight and direction to communities, and research that provides the hope that tomorrow will be better than today.
Those of us who have dedicated our lives to the health professions, indeed our vocations, believe that we are making a difference. We all benefit from an understanding of the past, the experiences of the present and the intellectual curiosity that discovers and invents those things that will enrich and strengthen our future. We believe firmly in our mission, and we are convinced that our faculty, staff and students are transcending all expectations as they make the world a better place in which to work and live. Our efforts have just begun, and the fruits of our labor will have no end.
What then are the guiding principles of our organization that lead us to distinction in education programs, prominence in scientific research, and innovation? And what are the guiding principles that make our care of those who suffer illness more compassionate, comprehensive and successful?
We pursue excellence in all we do. We are committed to providing the best care imaginable for all Texans. We have a special calling and duty to serve with sincerity and compassion the rural and underserved populations in the great State of Texas. When one person in our state is without needed care, we all suffer. If we know anything from quantum physics, it is that everything in the universe is connected in one way or another. Therefore, we intend to see to it that our connections are cared for with expertise and excellence.
We are convinced that the myriad of multiform fibers composing the human body make it stronger, just as the diverse population of our state makes our mosaic stronger, better and more beautiful. We take pride in the cultural diversity found in Texas, and we are privileged to serve with tenderness and understanding all people, regardless of race, religion, cultural heritage or gender. We do not limit our inquiries or services based upon preconceived ideas or outdated conceptions of who is and who is not worthy. Every person is worthy, and we are eternally invested in the solemn American promise of serving everyone fairly, equally and honorably. We will never compromise our integrity or our academic freedom. We are steadfast in our enduring commitment to honor and decency in all we do. Our good reputation is best assured by transparency and accountability in our every transaction and relationship. Our academic freedom fosters the necessary environment to promote lively discourse and scientific inquiry. We cherish the freedom to express informed viewpoints without fear, and we will never shrink from our duties and responsibilities to our colleagues and fellow citizens.
We trust in active collaboration and continued professional development. Our research, teaching and services are strengthened and enhanced by our relationships at the personal and institutional levels. We take pride in our colleagues’ work, and we champion the growth and development of all those whose commitment to the health professions is intertwined with our enlightened vision and valorous mission.
Our principles of excellence, service to all, diversity, integrity, academic freedom, collaboration and lifelong learning form the foundation from which the high vision and important mission of the Texas A&M Health Science Center is to rise to even greater national importance. We are unshakable in our commitment to these principles because they define who we are.
Let me speak for a moment about who we are. The Health Science Center has an outstanding faculty, including sixteen Regents’ Professors and four Distinguished Professors. We have faculty who have received national and international awards and grants, faculty who represent the cutting edge in their areas of study, and faculty who serve on national boards and organizations, thereby influencing public policy in significant ways. And, we have, if I may say so in all modesty, the first woman President of the American Medical Association.
Our faculty does not have the advantages of organizations and institutions with long histories and traditions, but their genius, efforts and results demonstrate fully the wealth of talent and brains we possess and of which we are so very proud. In fact, I am humbled by the many gifts possessed by our faculty.
Our students are special indeed. We graduate very bright health-care professionals who are not only devoted to caring for their patients and communities, but who also see themselves as guardians of the public good. They embrace their destinies as leaders and gladly accept their important roles as citizens of a larger community.
We must never forget that professional, cultural and social competence go hand in hand. We teach our young people the values and behaviors that are consistent with their expectations and responsibilities in their professions. We seek and enroll students from all walks of life whose inherent compassion and desire to serve ensure that they will adopt the best, try out the unusual and leave our institution with mature confidence in their extraordinary abilities to meet the challenges and opportunities their professions present now and tomorrow. And, as a result of our commitment and our students’ determination to be leaders, we are confidently and proudly producing tomorrow’s leaders in the health-care professions.
Texas A&M Health Science Center has adopted and published its vision, mission and principles, with the appropriate goals, objectives and strategies attached thereto, in honor of this inaugural convocation. The Pathways to Excellence 2015 is our declaration of our belief in who we are and what we are to become. We take pride in its publication, we honor those who helped write it, and we are devoted to seeing it carried out.
In closing, let me state emphatically that I am merely one of many here today. I am humbled and inspired by your devotion, labor and dreams. Our future is joined, and we march forward—individually and collectively—toward a future that is based upon ethics and science, with the care of others foremost in our hearts and minds.
In a world in which business claims more and more of our professions, we must never forget that love and compassion must attend the care and service that we provide. Our doctors, scientists and educators must not live in sterile environments ignorant of the daily toils of those whom they serve. We are devoted to the precept that all people, regardless of geography, economic status or cultural differences, deserve the benefits of compassionate care, superior science and exceptional education.
Our health-care professionals must maintain and build upon their intellectual curiosity. The future belongs to those who are willing to be a part of the world, learn something new every day, challenge the status quo, break down unethical barriers, demonstrate integrity at every juncture and lead by supreme example.
Our faculty and students have a splendid destiny before them because they have the gifts and the will to forge a future in which they will make the world a better and more humane place. This is the future of which I dream, this is the future that is possible, and this is the future that you will bring about. This is our commitment to and our hope for the Texas A&M University Health Science Center.