Honoring A Beloved Mentor and Teacher

On Tuesday, December 10, 2013 the 3 PELP cohorts gathered to celebrate the retirement of our beloved leader, mentor, teacher and friend, Linda Johnsrud, Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Hawai’i System.

I had the unique privilege of being asked to deliver some introductory remarks at Linda’s retirement party on behalf of the PELP cohorts.  Below is a transcript of my speech.
Linda's Retirement

Caption:  With UH Executive VP / Provost Linda Johnsrud at her retirement party, Tuesday, 12/10/13

Dear friends and PELP ‘ohana.  Good evening and welcome to our celebration in honor our of leader, mentor, teacher and friend Linda Johnsrud as she embarks on the next great adventure in her life.  My name is Jonathan Wong, a member of PELP Cohort II and it is my honor to deliver some short remarks to open our evening.  There’s no formal program to tonight per se but on behalf of us I did want to express to Linda how much she means to us and how much we’ll miss her.  Afterwards we’ll present her with some gifts and give her a chance to say a few words and then we’ll open the floor to all of you if you have some final words for Linda.

First things first, Linda.  On behalf of all of us we want to thank you for sharing with us your knowledge and your wisdom throughout the PELP experience.  I know for myself and I’m sure for most of us PELP was a career defining moment.  For me it put into the larger context the work we do as educators, as Hawaii educators, in helping our people achieve our potential as a community to remain globally competitive.  It made me realize that though we do great work there is much to do to get our people to where we need to be.  So for myself that gives me the resolve I need to show up to work each day despite all the challenges of the daily grind and the fortitude to push forward to achieve our strategic plan and our mission.

As developing leaders you set the example and are the gold standard.  When I think of the type of leader I hope to become that type of leader is the one modeled by Linda:  grounded yet with eyes on the big picture.  Firm but fair.

As educators we take on a sacred commitment to pass on to future generations our collective knowledge so that our children and our children’s children can lead better lives than we did.  Such to is the case when one generation of leaders passes the torch to the next.  Tonight we honor Linda Johnsrud as she retires from a textbook and exemplary career but we also gather as her PELP children.  Linda is but one woman — a remarkable one for sure, but as she rides off into the sunset she can rest assured that the next generation of leaders she raised — all of us, stands ready to continue the work she started.

Godspeed Linda, thank you from all of us and happy retirement 🙂

From the Archives:

PELP Graduation:  Diplomas

Caption:  PELP Graduation Day with UH President David McClain and VP Linda Johnsrud, Friday, May 8, 2009.


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