Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Trabant University Center
April 27, 2012

I’m Patrick Harker, president of the University, and I’m really happy to welcome you to campus. How many of you are here because your mom or your dad talks all the time about how fun and exciting their job is … and you finally decided to call their bluff? I don’t blame you if you wanted to see for yourself what your mom or dad does all day, and if it’s really worth spending at least eight hours, Monday through Friday, doing it.

I think my job is fun and exciting. Plus, I get to work with your parents, so that makes it even better. In a few years, you’ll appreciate how important it is to like your job—to really, really like it. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to get up in the morning if you enjoy what you do, if you want to go to the office, or the lab, or the factory, or the farm, or the school, or the hospital—wherever it is you work.

It’s important to find fulfillment in your job, to think it’s valuable and helpful, and that it makes the most of your abilities and talents. And the way you do that is to start thinking now about what you like, what you’re good at, and what’s important to you: Is it important to make a lot of money? Is it important to help others or improve the world in some way? Is it important to have a lot of time off, or to be your own boss?

We all have different things that motivate us. And that’s great. Because there’s an unlimited number of jobs out there. And for each job, there’s someone like you—or your mom or your dad—who thinks it’s the perfect job.

You can start preparing for this perfect job now. You can take school seriously and work hard. You can really dig into the subjects you like, and find out what kinds of careers are possible in those fields. You can talk to people who do what you want to do, and ask them questions about the work, the benefits, the drawbacks—what they enjoy about the job and what they don’t. You can open yourself up to all sorts of opportunities in an effort to find your fit.

You’ve got plenty of years to focus your studies and activities. Why not take this time explore it all? The stuff you’re not interested in will fall away naturally, and the stuff you’re drawn to will rise to the top. But by trying it all, you’ll be in a better position to know where you want to go—which interests were just detours, and which ones will form your true path.

I can’t imagine a better place to start this exploration than a university. No matter what you’re interested in, I bet we have people doing it here. If you’re interested in health and medicine, we’ve got a whole college dedicated to health sciences. If you’re interested in literature, we’ve got world-renowned authors on campus. If you want to be an engineer, we’ve got every kind you can imagine. In a couple of minutes, you’ll hear how our police officers keep 20,000 students safe every day. We’ve got a huge team of landscapers who make the University of Delaware one of the most beautiful schools in the country. We’ve got athletes and coaches who compete among the best in the nation. Last month, our women’s basketball team made it all the way to the NCAA championship. Walk around campus, and you’ll see nearly half-a-dozen buildings being built or renovated. That’s the work of architects and development planners and construction workers and financial managers.

This University is a microcosm of the work we do as a country. It’s all here. And it’s incredibly exciting to be a part of it every day.

So next week, when your mom or dad comes home from work and tells you what a great day they
had—you can believe them!

I hope you have a great day today. I hope you learn a lot and that you have fun doing it. And, years down the road, I hope those two things—continual learning and undiminished fun—are exactly what you look for in your perfect job. Have a good time!

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