I feel fortunate to be employed at a place where people have worked collaboratively since 1855 to advance education, research, and innovation in ways that shape and change our world. Each morning, I drive 79 miles from my home in Kalamazoo, MI to a place that is vibrant with tradition, culture, and a sense of purpose. Each of my colleagues and the leaders of our organization endeavor to do their best every day.
I believe that it is important to respect and honor those I encounter. I’m thankful that my teachers in high school took the time to teach me that one of the ways I can show respect is to be deliberate in the design and selection of my attire. For me, dressing in sneakers, shorts, and a t-shirt doesn’t show how I feel about my organization, colleagues, or the people we serve. I choose to wear brown or black leather shoes, wool blend trousers, a button down shirt, and a tie.
No one at work told me that I must wear a tie — it is something I choose to do because I believe it is right for me. In addition, wearing a tie feels like a small way for me to walk in the footsteps of my heros who inspire me with their grace, kindness, and patience.
Wearing a tie doesn’t make me a better person. Also, the attire I choose to wear doesn’t entitle me to judge others or for others to judge me. The tie is just my way of expressing that I care about and respect you as another human being. So, I hope when you see me in a tie you smile — you’re in on “the secret” and know its not just about putting some fancy cloth round my neck each morning in order to be “in,” “elite,” or “cool.”