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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Johnnetta Cole

Past President of Spelman College

Professionally, of course, I've had disappointments. And I would say that the most painful for me was recently when, coming out of my work with President Clinton on the Transition Team, I served as the Cluster Coordinator for Education, and for Labor, and for the Arts. I was literally attacked. Attacked in the media, called names that I knew didn't belong to me. Accused of things that I knew that I had not done. It's a very painful experience to be attacked. It's not pleasant to look at a newspaper and to see people saying untruths. But it's in moments like that that I think one really comes to grips with the absolute core of who you are as a person. And it's also in moments like that, that you really discover the extraordinary power of friendships, of collegial relationships.
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Johnnetta Cole

Past President of Spelman College

The charges that were leveled against me, I found it important to say very little. The folk who spoke were amazingly effective in saying how they perceive me. The Atlanta Jewish community, responding to some unbelievable charge that I was practicing anti-Semitism. The Atlanta business community, responding to a charge that I was a communist. And so, others spoke up. And I think the lesson to be learned there is that when we are connected to folk who are being charged unfairly, it is our responsibility to speak up.
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I was kind of in a crisis. Here I was, already had a kid who was a couple of years old, and I was facing the idea of starting over again, and what to do. And I was pretty shaken up about whether research was the right thing for me or not. So I considered many options, and stayed up many nights wondering which was right. And finally decided, even though it had not been a childhood dream at all, that medicine was a really interesting option for me. That it would allow me to learn about the life sciences and see if there was something there that really grabbed my fancy in the way of research. But if that didn't happen, I knew I loved working with people. I knew I had this urge to try to do something for other human beings, an urge that I hadn't been able to experience quite in the way I wanted to in the physical sciences. And if I just ended up being a doc out in the hills somewhere, that would be okay too.
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Francis Collins

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Boy, I can remember when I first got into science, in genetics in a serious way, I felt the clock was ticking and I just had to do something meaningful. And I had to prove myself in short order, or everybody would figure out that I was really clueless and I had no talent, and was not going to pan out. And the first few months everything I tried failed. And I would go home at night just feeling so depressed and so discouraged and wondering, "Should I just quit?" I still remember that sort of intense feeling of failure. Not to say that I've gotten any better at this, I still fail at the same rate, but I think I've learned that that just comes with the territory. And it's okay to fail at the experiment. It doesn't mean you've failed as a human being. One has to learn that.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

Denton Cooley: I was operating with a surgeon who himself was handicapped. He had had a spinal cord tumor. He had one good hand, which was I think his left hand, which he used to operate. And he had one other arm, that was in sort of a brace. We had a patient with an aneurysm here, just under his breast bone. And I remember so well, we got the man anesthetized -- he was actually bleeding when he got in the operating room -- had the man anesthetized, and this surgeon reached down and pulled up the breast bone, and the blood hit the ceiling, and he put his finger in the hole in the aorta, and so he was completely immobilized. Because he had this other arm that he couldn't do much with, and so he said, "Cooley, it's your operation now. See what you can do to get my finger out of the hole." And that was the way that came about. I figured out a way to patch up the hole in the aorta, and the patient survived. But I remembered it was a task that was way beyond my experience at the time. And I wasn't prepared for anything that difficult.
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Denton Cooley

Pioneer of Heart Transplants

One of the most trying times in my career was when we did the first heart transplant. We put it into the patient, and wondered whether it was going to work. Suppose it had not functioned? We weren't certain at all that it would function. So that five or ten minutes, while we were waiting for that heart to regain its function, was one of the most difficult times of my surgical career. And I'm sure it's the same with other surgeons who have followed. Now we know that the heart will start up, and that's just part of the knowledge that we have gained through the years.
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