Letter to Dr. Steven Muller, Former President Johns Hopkins University. 2011

 

July 20, 2011

Dr. Steven Muller
2315 Bancroft Place NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Dr. Muller,

This letter is to congratulate you on your inclusion in the July 4, 2011 Carnegie Corporation tribute to immigrants to America as well as to thank you for the significant impact a chance meeting with you over 30 years ago had on my life.

It is unlikely that you remember me. You interviewed me in 1980 when you chaired the Baltimore City Board of Financial Review. Although I have lived many places and held many positions since that time, I have never forgotten a question you asked me at the end of that interview.

Now that I have peeked your interest, let me explain. At the end of a rather long interview for the position of Fiscal Advisor to Baltimore City Council, you took me aside and asked me to explain why I earned 3 degrees from the same university. I responded that I had family obligations that kept me in Philadelphia where I went to school, and I no longer had those obligations. Although my answer was true, it masked the resentment I felt about the choices I did not have as a young person. A few weeks later, I read a profile about you in the Baltimore Sun and learned that you also had assumed family responsibilities at a young age. In an instant I realized that life is better lived when you are thankful for the opportunities you are afforded rather than if you are resentful because of the choices that are not available to you. And that insight has made all the difference to my life.

Since that time I have been fortunate enough to be able to establish 2 scholarships, one at Temple University for students without family support or financial resources and one at The City College of New York, for students whose parents came to America seeking a better life for their children. If it wasn’t for the question you asked me so many years ago, it is unlikely that these scholarships would have been endowed or that the recipients would be afforded the opportunities only available when you have a college education.

Thank you again for the impact you had on my life and congratulations to you and the Carnegie Corporation for honoring you for the contributions you made to America.

With Sincere Gratitude,
Ronnyjane Goldsmith

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