Why start with Billy Crystal's trademark line? Because Billy Crystal is the inspiration for the title of my remarks today. I call them "Leave a Tip."
I recently came across Billy Crystal's autobiography, Still Foolin' ‘Em. It is very entertaining and also thought provoking. At one point, Billy recalls a lesson he learned early on in his career. I think it is a lesson each of our award winners has already learned: Leave a tip.
It seems that one night Billy was performing his stand up routine and thought he had done really well. He asked an agent who had been in the audience what he thought. The agent told him he was effective, but he wasn't good. He said Crystal's own personality was missing – he didn't leave a tip. The manager went on to add words that stayed with and guided Billy Crystal throughout his career: "You didn't do anything personal or unexpected. There was no risk taking. A comedian's job is to take risks . . . don't be afraid to fail. And don't ever forget, ‘leave that tip.' "
I think that passage could be revised just slightly for each of our award winners today: A leader's job is to take risks . . . don't forget to fail. And don't ever forget to "leave that tip".
Risk and resilience are themes we will hear this afternoon as we celebrate student leaders from across the Bucknell community. Each of our winners have already learned the important lesson summarized by Professor Rosabeth Moss Kantor of Harvard's Business School: "Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach." Today, we will celebrate student leaders who are helping our community learn from and improve from setbacks and unanticipated outcomes.
Throughout, though, we will hear stories of leadership and community contribution that embody Maya Angelou's important advice: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
So congratulations to each of our award winners for sharing your time and talent with the Bucknell community. My hope for each of you is that you will never forget to Leave a Tip!
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