Here is what Andy Dzurinko ’65 (political science) wishes for you every day: That you will remain positive and active; that you will always do your best and share your best with those you love and those you meet; that you will give of yourself to make this world a better place. And that, he says, is the secret to true happiness and success.
For years, Dzurinko kept a journal of his varied life experiences, and in 2002 he compiled those lessons and reflections into a motivational book, The Power of Optimism, which he aimed at both sales professionals and anyone who wants to grow personally or professionally. The book launched him on a speaking career, mainly in insurance industry circles. In 2011 he followed up with another inspirational book, LOL: Laugh Out Loud, Feel Good and Live Longer, which he co-wrote with the late James Harris, M.D.
How did Dzurinko come to have such a positive attitude toward life? It’s really quite simple, he says. He grew up in a place where optimism was the way of life. “People didn’t have much. They were mostly immigrants who worked in Pittsburgh’s steel mills, but everyone was positive,” he says. His involvement in scouting and sports contributed to his outlook as well. It was sports that brought him to Bucknell, where he majored in political science and played football under Coach Bob Odell and helped the Bison win the 1964 Lambert Cup.
After a career coaching high school and then college football, Dzurinko entered the insurance business, and he is currently an independent salesman. He re-engaged with sports when he moved to Tempe, Ariz., in 1989, and became executive director of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Health and head of the nonprofit Frank Kush Youth Foundation, which promotes physical fitness and wellness for children. “I had to walk the talk,” he explains.
At age 56, Dzurinko ran his first marathon. A decade later, he began long-distance hiking and mountain climbing. He has since hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, climbed Yosemite’s Half Dome as well as Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.), and reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He has a four-day hike to Machu Picchu planned for this summer and will be climbing Mt. Blanc in 2014.
“Enjoy your life,” Dzurinko says. “We only go around once.”