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Dean Blount's Blog

 

  Thanksgiving Dinner for 630
   

Thanksgiving Dinner for 630
November 29, 2011

Among the greatest traditions at Kellogg is our annual Thanksgiving dinner, which is open to anyone in our community who spends the holiday in Evanston. This year, 630 students, faculty, administrators, alumni, family and friends joined us at the Allen Center to celebrate. Jeff Muldrow, our amazing chef; Scott Hastings, our lead Aramark manager at the Allen Center; and the entire Allen Center team produced a wonderful afternoon.

In true Kellogg spirit, we served everything from turkey and stuffing to curried vegetables to beans and rice. No matter your palate or customs, we were ready to feed you — and provide a table of any size, be it two, five or 15-plus. We saw extended families, students from many countries, faculty groups and administrators all coming together to celebrate.

Finding meaning and fulfillment

My mother and her partner, John, flew out from New Jersey to join me for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the first time they had seen my new home. Up until this point my mom hasn’t quite understood my job, especially the scope of it. But after the big dinner at the Allen Center, touring our campus and seeing the plans for our new building, she has a better idea.

As we were leaving the dinner late Thursday afternoon, Mom said, “I guess you have a pretty big job.” I said, “Yup.”  She asked, “Are you happy?” And I answered, “Most days . . . but more importantly, I’m fulfilled.” 

Being a dean, especially at a place with as much visibility as Kellogg has, is a complex job. There are many people to hear and constituencies to consider on every decision. There are seldom quick answers. Some days require a lot of patience and resilience, and you have to work to keep your own ego in check as much as possible. But for me, it’s all about believing in what I do and why I do it.  This job offers that kind of meaning and fulfillment every day.

Putting it all in perspective

It’s both an honor and a daunting task to be charged with leading a community as large and vibrant as Kellogg — some 60,000 alumni, faculty, staff and students worldwide. Some days I am more aware than others of just how significant the task is at this particular point in time. I’m the dean charged with shepherding us through an organizational transformation that will reset our trajectory for 2020 and establish our global positioning.

This holiday season, I am grateful for the support and collaboration of our vast community, and I am humbled by the faith that so many are placing in me as the leader of this journey.

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at sallyblount@kellogg.northwestern.edu

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