Thursday, January 1, 2009

Former Sen. Claiborne Pell

I am continually reminded that amidst the myriad of people in the world and some of the bizarre behavior the media reports, there is infinite goodness among us. Be it a gifted kindness, a word or deed that helps us, a reminder by a friend we are loved. These kindnesses lift us.
I have been on the receiving end of gentle kindnesses lately. It's not just the holidays, it's good people taking the time to do gentle hearted things that help other people.

It's humanity at its best!

Todays news reported the death of former U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.
I never knew this man, but he helped me immensely as a struggling art student 30 years ago. I was paying my way through The Art Institute and working 2 jobs. I applied for financial assistance and applied for what was known as a Pell Grant. Low and behold my application for assistance was granted and funds arrived that helped me through school. The enormity of that help I have never forgotten. Today, this benevolent man died peacefully at the age of 90.
I cannot imagine how many students were touched by this mans efforts.

He was first elected to the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island in 1960, and served from January 3, 1961, to January 3, 1997, when he retired. He was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1994, and was named U.S. delegate to the United Nations in 1997.but his passion lay in education and the arts and humanities, believing that the country's people were its greatest asset. Largely through his efforts, Congress created the Pell grants, which were need-based awards to low-income undergraduate and certain other students.

"The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people," he once said.

Describing his job as a senator, Pell said his work was to "translate ideas into actions and help people."

Sen. Claiborne Pell was the main sponsor of the bill creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tomorrow I plan to write to his family and let them know what a difference he made in my life.

Infinite goodness has wide arms!
Thank you Sen. Claiborne Pell.
You made a difference in my life.


1 comment:

Coyote Soul said...

Great post! A man whose life's work helped so many people realize theirs. Not enough ways to say "thank you". When I was applying for a student loan for college many decades ago a wonderful loan officer at Harris Bank in Chicago changed my life. I was 16, basically on my own in my attempt to go to college. He listened to my story, my circumstances and worked very hard to help me secure the money needed to start college. Without him I would never had gone on to college and never would have had a career. When I went back to thank him years later he had already retired. I'm sure Mr Pell's family would love to receive your letter. What a great man and what a fine tribute you paid him.