Dean Sturgeon: Thoughts about Labor Day

Dean Sturgeon’s Labor Day email to the Pepperdine University community:

“The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” – Helen Keller

I first saw the frustration of the unemployed when my dad was laid off from his work in the early 1980s, which may explain my connection to our friends who gather at the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. The desire to work is inherent to life.

Labor Day became a national holiday in the 1880s, but it is now less a recognition of the achievements of organized labor and more of an end-of-summer celebration involving shopping, cookouts, and political rallies. Regardless, the holiday exists to honor the “worker”—a term that is broadly defined, and rightfully so for there is much work to do.

Pepperdine is a prime example of a wide array of people working at diverse tasks for a sum greater than the individual parts. From professor to shuttle driver, from webmaster to counselor, from landscaper to event planner, it takes all this and more to produce a student prepared to live a purposeful life as a servant leader.

On Labor Day, Pepperdine pauses to celebrate its beautifully diverse team of workers whose “mighty shoves” and “tiny pushes” (to use Helen Keller’s nice phrasing) combine to change the world.

Al Sturgeon
Dean of Students
School of Law

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