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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


John Sexton

Education & Law

The first times that I saw Greenwich Village or NYU, he and I would drive over in the car -- and you have to remember, I was 10, 11, 12 -- very impressionable; adored him. I mean, he was a good and loving father, never put any limits on me. I mean, never put any limits on his understanding of what I could do. You know, he always expected me to be able to do anything I wanted to do -- as my mother did, which was a great gift. But I remember driving over in the car and sitting in Washington Square Park, and him talking about NYU, and this university. And then we would go down to the Bowery and we would pick up somebody, at random, and bring them out to the house. And for the last three or four years of his life, we never rented upstairs. There were four beds up there, and we would bring these people from the Bowery, and bathe them and feed them and they would live with us -- he called them "handymen," and he was essentially running an occupational therapy program. So that has inbred in me an understanding that we all fall. You know, when you see your hero fall -- but that rehabilitation is possible from the lowest depths; that even a person who -- I mean, it's a very traumatic thing to have your father burst into your fifth grade classroom in the middle of the day completely drunk, and you know, you're there with your classmates; or to find him in the gutter. You know, I'd have to search for him -- sometimes he'd be gone for weeks -- with my mother. But then to see the goodness in that person -- you know, it's a lesson that carries with you -- and, I think, breeds more of a willingness to search for the good in people.
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John Sexton

Education & Law

I mean, Fordham just gave me an honorary degree. Now, I have a Bachelor's and a Master's and a Ph.D. from Fordham. And I got up in front of the students and I said, "The first thing I urge all of you to do when you leave here today -- those of you especially with summas and magnas on your diplomas -- is leave here and as quickly as you can fail at something. Just so you'll understand -- " -- now this is the son of an alcoholic, of course, talking again. "But just so that you understand that there's life after failure." Now, I said, "There's no one in the audience with a grade point average as low as mine, because my grade point average was 2.1 when I graduated from Fordham." I said, "I don't regret what I did. I followed my passions. I took risks. I wouldn't trade what I did for a higher grade point average. But at least those of you that are sitting there with the 2.8s" -- because you can't get 2.1s anymore with grade inflation -- "or the 3.2s -- you know that there's life after failure. And you know that unless you try to take risks, you're not going to really play all the octaves of the piano." So, it was a dominating thing for me to do what Charlie did. And, it affected my life. I mean, it's the reason I got my doctorate. Father Tim Healey, who had recruited me for this honors program at Fordham, but who threw me out of it at the end of my freshman year because my grades were terrible, came up to me in 1963 when I was on the quadrangle. It's May. I'm limping to graduation. And Tim said, "You've been a big disappointment to us." And he said, "But the Vatican Council has happened, and it's going to be important for lay Catholics to understand other religions. And we're starting a Ph.D. program in religion. We'll give you a second chance. We'll give you a fellowship." So, I felt very honored, until I got there in the fall and saw there were only two of us in the program, and he was looking just for somebody that probably didn't have plans, and had spotted me on the quadrangle. So, that's why I got my Ph.D.
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Neil Sheehan

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Neil Sheehan: I got the Pentagon Papers for The New York Times. I got them and brought them to the Times. I was very proud of the paper because the executive editor -- first of all, I briefed all the editors. I spent two weeks hidden down here in the Jefferson Hotel, which was a dump at the time, with one of the assistant foreign editors, and the two of us went through all of this stuff, and I was astonished at how much they had been able to hide. It was astonishing, because I knew, obviously, Vietnam. I had lived through these events. And also, what was astonishing was here were their documents, their telegrams sending the armies in the field, the airplanes in the air, their memoranda. It wasn't some unidentified source in the Pentagon in a news story. It was their stuff, the real thing. It was the archive of the war. So we spent two weeks reading, and then we went up to New York, and I briefed the editors in New York, and I was very proud of their reaction. No one in the room said, "Should we print this stuff?" It was all classified "Top Secret: Sensitive." Unjustly, I mean. They had in there a 1945 telegram from Ho Chi Ming appealing to President Truman to help him get rid of the French, and they had these classified "Top Secret: Sensitive."
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Neil Sheehan

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

This tremendous battle occurred within The New York Times between Rosenthal and the other editors, mainly the business side, and the main legal counsel for the paper. The outside counsel was a famous establishment New York lawyer named Louis Loeb, who told the publisher that if he published this material, the government would take him into court, and he would lose against the restraining order, and Loeb would not defend him! He would refuse to defend him. It was such an arrogant, incredibly arrogant thing to tell a man who's running The New York Times and whose editors are telling him, "You've got to publish this material. This belongs in the public domain. We have a duty under the First Amendment to publish it. It doesn't matter what these people say. You've got to publish it. That's it." The publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, who also was called "Punch," the father of the current publisher, decided to go ahead and gave the editors their head. He fired the chief counsel afterwards. He fired Louie Loeb.
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Neil Sheehan

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

I wasn't afraid going to war. I almost got killed six months later in a so-called "friendly" artillery barrage. This incompetent Vietnamese general shelled his own troops. That put the fear of God into me. From that day forward, I was always afraid when I went out, but you had to go out. You just had to learn how to control your fear. That's all. Soldiers -- most soldiers who are sane -- are afraid, but they control. The professionals learn to control their fear, and that is what you had to do, because you had to go out.
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Alan Shepard

First American in Space

The excitement really didn't start to build until the trailer -- which was carrying me, with a space suit with ventilation and all that sort of stuff -- pulled up to the launch pad. I walked out, and looked at that huge rocket, the Redstone rocket, for the first time. Of course it's not huge by today's standards, but it seemed pretty big then. And I thought, well now, there is that little rascal, and I'm going to get up on top and fly that thing. And you know, pilots always go out to the airplanes and kick the tires before they fly. Nobody would let me get near the rocket to kick the fins, but I kind of walked around and thought, well, I'll take a good look at it, because I'll never see that part of the machine again. And then the excitement started building, I think, at that point.
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Alan Shepard

First American in Space

We had a couple of cliff-hangers on Apollo XIV. In the first place, we tried to dock with the lunar module, and that didn't work, so it could have been the end of the deal, but we finally got that organized. And then, the actual landing on the surface. We were supposed to get an update from the radar, we couldn't go below 13,000 feet, and that came in only at the last minute. So there were a lot of little nervous things that kept you awake all the way down until you landed. But then you are there, and you say, "Well, we're not going to take off for a couple of days, so let's relax and enjoy it."
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