Monday, January 26, 2015

What Students Want

This time of year I send the following message to students (undergraduate and graduate)  I had the honor to work with during their studies who are graduating this Winter Commencement:

“I wanted to wish you the best on your graduation this weekend.  This is a big achievement and you should be proud of what you have accomplished. If there is anything I can do for you in the future please feel free to call on me.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to have you in class.

Remember three things as you go forward in your career:  (1) never compromise your ethics and values, (2) never sell yourself short, and (3) never trust bankers and marketers (only kidding, sort of).

You and your family have a wonderful graduation, much success and I will see you down the road.”

The replies to this message usually are of thanks, I will keep in touch, may I have a Letter of Recommendation, or most importantly, “Sir who do you know?”  But the last two Commencement messages I have seen replies becoming more direct in their need for jobs and better paying careers. Students these days are under heavy pressure to return their investment quickly; be it to repay student loans, the demands of employers, or to legitimize their commitment in time and funds to their higher education.

The demand for internships (either paid or non-pay) is desired by 80% of the students I work with who have no clear path to employment. Many students do not mind entering into the job market being underpaid, they understand the economy and how firms operate these days. But what they truly demand is job satisfaction, is their career actually accomplishing their personal goals and ethics. To make a big salary is important but not as important as joining an organization that fits their standards and their desire to be a part of a team providing a meaningful product or service.

I teach during a course of a year nineteen year old students who are very nervous about the future and wonder what this is all for?  Twenty five year old international students who must go home and prove to their families and colleagues their time in U.S. College was meaningful. Thirty year old military service men and woman who now must decide to take their skills into the private sector or continue to work their way through the military bureaucracy. Thirty five year old students who are back in the education system after years of work or raising families, who now try to compete in this tough labor marketplace of low entry pay and younger workers. Finally, the first generation college students, both undergraduate and graduate, who within their own families must answer the question is this education necessary, at the same time seeking their rightful place in the job market.

I am daily amazed at how these individuals deal with their future and all the pressures associated with it.

Just the other day a student of mine from Nicaragua, a first generation college student, said to me: Sir, help me find my passion, help me find my commitment. A humbling request to this educator but a request I must satisfy to the best of my abilities. This is the challenge of higher education in 2015. Can we help our students find their passion and commitment to a better life in the context of ever increasing tuition, fees and lower earning power.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Lies, All Lies," by Clancy Martin in the Chronicle of Higher Education: "In Dallas G. Denery's excellent new history of Western thinking on deception, The Devil Wins [A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment], he cites a recent study that shows that 'during every 10 minutes of conversation, we lie three times and even more frequently when we use email and text messaging.' ... It's a funny thing about lying: We all do it, and we all damn it. In many traditions, both Western and Eastern, it is considered among the most blameworthy of acts." "

TAKING ANY GUT CLASSES? - NCAA Says It's Investigating Academic Fraud at 20 Colleges [18 Division I] The cases ... involve a variety of missteps, including allegations that players received impermissible assistance from professors, academic advisers, or people outside of an athletic department.

POLITICS 101 -- Romney's Inner Circle to Powwow in Boston on Friday: The meeting included members of the former Massachusetts governor's inner circle: his son, Tagg, top aides Spencer Zwick and Matt Waldrip, longtime confidante Beth Myers, political consultant Eric Fehrnstrom, longtime pal Bob White, and adviser Ron Kaufman.

Romney's top fundraisers consider bailing: Romney is struggling to secure the financial backing even of ... his staunchest supporters. The Center for Public Integrity ... attempted to contact roughly 90 top Romney fundraisers from his most recent presidential run, including every federal lobbyist who helped him raise $30,000 or more. The vast majority willing to speak on the record say they haven't decided whom to support.

CONVENTION SCHEDULE - 2016 Democratic convention set for week of July 25: Democrats will hold their presidential nominating convention the week of July 25 in 2016, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Friday. The convention will be held the week after the Republican National Convention, which is set for July 18-21 in Cleveland. In a statement, Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, said the DNC is still deciding whether to hold the convention in Columbus, Philadelphia or New York.

SAUDI KING ABDULLAH DIES - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died at about age 91, according to a royal court statement read on state television early Friday morning local time. Crown Prince Salman has been declared king and Prince Muqrin became Crown Prince, according to the statement. ... Born before his father founded the modern Saudi state in 1932, Abdullah focused his final years on internal and external security threats to a nation he had seen grow into an oil giant and center of political and religious power in the region.

His death removes a bulwark against the democratic and Islamist movements that have roiled the rest of the Arab world since the uprisings of 2011, though his immediate successors are seen as just as conservative as he was, or more. In one of his final statements, an address before the consultative Shoura Council read by his half-brother and heir to the throne earlier this month, Abdullah emphasized that his country was 'blessed with security and stability' in the heart of a volatile region.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Cris Collinsworth (56), Wayne Gretzky (54), Gene Hackman (85), Eddie Van Halen (60), Dominik Hasek (50), Mimi Rogers (59), Tom Selleck (70), Curtis Strange (60), Bob Uecker (80), Oprah Winfrey (61).

BLANKFEIN AND DIMON GET OVER $20M EACH - Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Jamie Dimon, his counterpart at JPMorgan Chase, respectively received $24m and $20m in salary and cash and stock bonuses in 2014. Mr Blankfein earned $2m in salary as well as $14.67m in restricted stock for the year ... Half of the restricted stock is tied to his performance and will be awarded over several years. ... The cash portion of his award amounted to roughly $7.33m, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr Blankfein's typical cash award represents 30 per cent of his bonus, the person said, although this year it was slightly higher.

Mr Blankfein earned $29m a year earlier, which included a long term incentive award of $6m. Goldman last week reported lower profits for its fourth quarter, as fixed income trading revenues tumbled ... Mr Dimon's own pay package for 2014 was flat from the year prior, and included a $7.4m cash bonus and $1.5m base salary in 2014. The bulk of his package was made up of $11.1m in restricted stock.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, on Fox "Special Report" last week, picks Sen. Marco Rubio as most likely to win GOP nomination (with Jeb second and Scott Walker third): "He's my underestimated, dark-horse candidate who THREADS his way - young, energetic, he's got a program ... If he runs against Hillary, the contrast ... -- the vigor, the energy the Kennedyesque idea -- will be a major one."

DAVOS DIARY -- China Alibaba founder Jack Ma shows global ambitions - Ma, China's richest person, on Friday expressed ambitions of making his company into a global e-commerce platform serving two billion customers. ... 'What I am thinking about: how we can make Alibaba a platform for global small business,' Ma told the World Economic Forum.

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/31. 7:00 PM CT, FCS; #1 University of North Dakota Frackers (18-5-2) visit #5 University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (15-6-3). They will be 16,000 strong at the CenturyLink Center Saturday night, but too bad, North Dakota 4 the Mavericks 3.   Season to date (2-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – 2/1, 6:30 PM ET, NBC; New England Patriots (14-4) s. Seattle Seahawks (14-4). We like New England 28 – 24. The simple reason, #87 Gronk will be too much for the Seattle defense.   Season to date (15-6)

Katy Perry Super Bowl set list: Part of Me, I Kissed A Girl, California Gurls, Walking On Air, and Roar.


(NBA, Jan. 31) Los Angeles Clippers (30-14) 88 at San Antonio Spurs (29-17) 95

(SCIAC Game of the Week, Jan. 31) Men’s Hoops – #15 Chapman Panthers (16-0) 72 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Republicans (12-4) 70

(ECAC hockey, Jan. 31) St. Lawrence University Saints (13-10-2) 5 at Clarkson Golden Jerks (10-11-4) 3

(NHL, Jan. 31) New York Islander (31-14-1) 3 at Detroit Red Wings (27-11-9) 2

Season to date (11 - 7)

MARKET WEEK - The stronger dollar is often presented as an optical problem for U.S. companies - it makes their overseas sales look smaller. But it can do a lot of real damage, too. Customers can disappear, competitors can get tougher and earnings can shrink - and it can be tough to adjust quickly. ... Avon Products Inc., which books 88 percent of its sales outside the U.S., can't raise prices on its makeup and wrinkle creams fast enough to offset the dollar's rise against the Brazilian real and other currencies. The suddenly stiffer price of a U.S. holiday means fewer foreign travelers booking hotels through Expedia Inc. 's travel websites.

DRIVING THE WEEK – President Obama continues his India trip today and will head to Riyadh on Tuesday ... Snow could shut down much of the northeast Tuesday and Wednesday ... Case-Shiller Home Prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected tor rise 0.7 percent. ... New Home Sales at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise to 450K from 438K ... Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise from 92.6. to 95.0. ... FOM announcement at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday not expected to change much with the central bank pledging to remain "patient" on rate hikes once QE ends ... First read on Q4 GDP at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to show growth of 3.1 percent ... Employment cost index at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.6 percent ... Univ. of Michigan Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. expected to rise to 98.2 from 93.6.

Next week: Just words.

Until Next Monday, Adios

Claremont, CA

January 26, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –  Luann by Greg Evans

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