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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


Johnnetta Cole

Past President of Spelman College

Johnnetta Cole: I loved school. I thought school was just great stuff. And somehow, I don't remember being teased because I liked school, being isolated, being called a nerd. And I remember now, and remember with a kind of mixed emotion, that I was growing up in the segregated South, going to segregated schools. There was a point when we went to school only half of the day, because the school board in Jacksonville, Florida said that was enough for colored kids. They'd learn all they needed to learn in half a day. I loved school and I think surely a great deal of the explanation must be in the Mrs. Vances of the world. That these were women, rarely men in my early years, who honest to goodness had a revolutionary idea. That every child is educable. That there's no such thing as a child who cannot learn. And so, learning was an activity that one wanted to engage in. Going to school was fun. And I guess, in a sense, I've never given up that passion.
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Johnnetta Cole

Past President of Spelman College

My grandfather wanted me to be an insurance executive, to carry on the family business. Lots of folk would say to my early declaration of being a doctor, "Oh, that's good. That's a good thing to do." But what I wanted to do, what I had discovered, the real passion, was for this thing called anthropology. And how fortunate I am that my mother affirmed it. That she said, "You must do what you feel passionately about." And I really think that all folk need to do that. The idea of getting up in the morning to do what you think others want you to do is not a very interesting way for me to imagine living a life.
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

It was the 10th grade in high school, it was the first day of the chemistry course. Mr. House, this wonderful man who'd dedicated his life to getting high school students excited about science, came in and said, "We're going to do an experiment today. I'm going to give you this box, which is painted black, and it has an object inside it and I want you figure out all the ways that you might investigate this to figure out what the object is." And my initial reaction was, "What a dumb idea!" And then I started to try to come up with a list of the kinds of experiments one could do to determine what's inside this black box. And I got caught up in it. It was the first time I think that somebody had challenged me to come up with the ideas. I had some exposure to science in previous courses, but it was, "Here's the facts, learn them." This was, "Okay, I'm challenging you. Here's a problem, how would you solve it?" And I knew something was different here.
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

In the lab, you could go for three or four weeks, sometimes longer, without having the sense that you did anything worthwhile. But when you have that occasional flash -- it doesn't come very often -- that occasional flash where you see something, you know something that nobody else ever knew before, that makes it all worthwhile. That's that sort of moment of inspiration, that recognition of some new phenomenon that only God is aware of until that moment. That keeps you going. That gets you through all those months of failed experiments and flawed hypotheses, and keeps you wanting to go on to the next step.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

Denton Cooley: It's really a fascinating organ. It's about the only organ in the body that you can really witness its function. It's active and doing things, and so on. Some of the other organs you can witness, like the intestines, will have this sort of peristaltic motion. But nothing can compare with the activity of the human heart. And besides that, it's always had a special connotation in our society, or in our life. It's been the seat of the soul, and the seat of emotions. The seat of many things. And so, it has always been considered to be an organ that was not amenable, did not lend itself to manipulation. But now we find that it really is a tough little organ. It can tolerate a great deal, and it certainly has been revealed that it can be corrected in many ways, and even replaced by organ transplantation.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

When I was a sophomore at the University of Texas. I was invited to visit a friend down in San Antonio, who was an intern at the time, working at a municipal hospital there. And he asked me to come over and join him on a Saturday night when he was working in the emergency room. And he had all of these patients there who were all beat up, cut up, or so on, in fights and so on. And he offered me the opportunity to sew up some wounds, which I had never done. And sure enough, I did that, and I enjoyed it, enjoyed the evening. It inspired me, and right then I decided that I would go on into medicine rather than into dentistry. So here I am.
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