Earlier this month, on June 17th, we visited the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC. To me, it was a treasure just to celebrate Father’s Day as a family – my father and his wife, my wife and her parents, and our 11-year-old daughter – so three generations together. Unfortunately we do not have that opportunity nearly enough – to be with family, and to remember family.
Spending time together was all the more meaningful at the new MLK Memorial along the tidal basin. For those who have not yet made the visit, I would highly recommend it. While the profound words of this legend are engraved in stone, they are also etched in our minds and hearts in perpetuity. My daughter particularly appreciated the quote, “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” And I liked “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. King’s words had meaning and impact not only to his times, but continue today in their relevance – perhaps especially today.
This country has known challenges since its founding more than two centuries ago, and we Americans have always overcome those challenges through each generation of our country’s leaders and citizens. Our nation continues to be challenged today in new and different ways, from within our shores and across the vast oceans. And we pray that we are up to the task. But it will take the resolve of those men and women who have earned the public trust by making a career of humanity – a cause larger than themselves – of service to God and to country.
On Father’s day, I like to remember that my grandfather was one of those leaders who put the greater good before his own – who loved his family and country and dedicated his life to public service. As U.S. Congressman, Governor and Senator representing the people of the State of Delaware, J. Caleb Boggs (“Cale”) embodied the spirit of a true public servant . He lived it and encouraged it, and never forgot the blessings that he and many others enjoyed even during time of war and the Great Depression, when so many others struggled.
Cale was brought up on a small farm in Cheswold, Delaware amidst a caring family with a strong faith that recognized the value of a good education. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1931, having been an active participant in athletics and holding leadership positions in student government. Later, while working in Washington, D.C. for Delaware’s U.S. Senator John Townsend, he earned his law degree from Georgetown University. In 1941, then-Captain Boggs was called to active duty – serving in Europe with the U.S. Army’s 6th Armored Division.
These events shaped his life, but it was Cale Boggs’ education at the University of Delaware that gave him the foundation for the long road of opportunities he met with determination and enthusiasm. And while he went on to make a difference as a soldier and elected official, he was forever grateful for the opportunity to attend the University of Delaware – where he made a mark, and an even larger mark was made on him.
That is why family and friends of my grandfather have established the J. Caleb Boggs Scholarship for Public Service at the University of Delaware. The Boggs Scholarship honors my grandparents’ desire – both Cale and Bess – to encourage civic engagement and public service across the generations. Since its founding in 1743, the University of Delaware has produced a long list of influential statesmen – including Thomas McKean, George Read and James Smith, who all signed the Declaration of Independence. Read would later sign the U.S. Constitution. Today, Delaware alumnus Joe Biden serves as Vice President of the United States and fellow alumnus Chris Christie serves as Governor of New Jersey.
More than 80 years after my grandfather graduated from the University of Delaware and 40 years after leaving public office, the Boggs Scholarship has raised more than a $100,000 that will be used to help educate and prepare the next generation of leadership for our state and our nation. And, to enhance this gift, between now and June 30, 2012, the next $50,000 raised – contributed or pledged – will be matched dollar for dollar.
For tomorrow’s leadership, please consider making a donation today at http://www.udel.edu/cpc/boggs.html.