Thirty Days of Gratitude

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and begin the holiday season, we are reminded of the importance of gratitude.

In a widely cited study by Emmons and McCullough, the simple act of gratitude listing was found to have a significant effect on mood and well-being. In a similar vein, Martin Seligman, an influential researcher in positive psychology, found that writing a thank you note every week can improve happiness.

This holiday season, I am going to embark on an experiment to write 30 thank you notes to observe a month of thanksgiving. Instead of email, I am going to write my note and deliver it in person or via mail. If you are interested in joining me, you can find some thank you cards in a small cardboard box in the lobby outside Deeb.

I have so much to be thankful for. I am grateful for our staff and faculty who make our college a caring and exciting place. Without your daily contribution, we wouldn't be able to serve our students. I also thank our alumni for their loyal support and belief in our commitment to teaching and scholarship. And I thank our undergraduate and graduate students for placing their trust in us.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team of individuals with whom I interact daily — Julie, Teresia, Scott, Mike, Teresa, Monique, Dimitar, Tim, Susi, Esther, Eric, Ann, Jason, Nicole and Meredith. You make us better and make me a better person.

As I reflect on gratitude, I am reminded of John Gruner, an alumnus who I met during my first few months on the job. He has since passed away. John reminded me of the power of kindness offered by his professor when he was an undergraduate student in Journalism. His gratitude for his professor remained planted in his heart for all his adult life, which led him to make a significant gift that led to the creation of the Media Greenhouse on the first floor. If you have five minutes, you may find this story uplifting. Read his story.

For the all the young individuals like John, who have entrusted their hearts and minds to us and who look to us for support and guidance, we are extraordinarily privileged. For this we can all be extremely grateful this Thanksgiving.

By Dean Prabu David