“First Lecture” is a way for the UH College of Education to kick off the new semester in a positive way. Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens encourages a committment to public service.
“All of these courageous students who are signed up, they’re about to go into this big next first year, is that we want them — they’re going to be deployed on the front lines. They’re going to be in classrooms around Houston. They’re going to be in classrooms, some of them, around the state and around the country. And on those front lines, we need courageous people, compassionate people, who can bring all of their gifts and all of their talents to service, and I’m going to encourage them to do that.”
As a Rhodes scholar and Oxford graduate, Greitens could have chosen many paths, but he chose to commit his life to public service and humanitarian work.
“It’s all about finding your purpose, building your sense of service, developing your strengths in order to make a difference, and whether you’re a returning veteran who’s coming home and finding a new way to serve or you’re a student on your first day at the University of Houston figuring out what your path is going to be, it’s that same challenge, that same opportunity.”
He’s the author of “The Heart and Fist: the Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL.”
“One of the things that I write about in ‘The Heart and the Fist’ is that we think — and I believe — that everyone needs a combination of compassion and courage. It’s amazing to see what you can achieve not just for yourself in terms of your personal transformation, but the kind of hope that you can create and the service that you can provide in the lives of others.”
Greitens is now a Senior Fellow at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri and Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.