Dean Crane Urges Grads to Engage in ‘Cathedral Thinking’

Referring to a recent speech at the school by Jim Rogers, the president and CEO of Duke Energy, Dean Crane said the decades and sometimes centuries it took to build the magnificent Medieval cathedrals still dotting Europe’s landscape meant that the builders—the architects, stone masons and carpenters—never saw the culmination of their efforts.

Dean Peter Crane addresses the Class of 2012  (photo:

Dean Peter Crane addresses the Class of 2012 (photo:

“Yet these creators had a vision of something bigger than themselves,” he said. “They shared one purpose—to create a lasting legacy that would be an inspiration to others, long after they left this Earth.”

He said the challenge for the 139 F&ES graduates is to use “cathedral thinking” to guide their everyday decisions. “If you do, you will build something that is truly worthwhile in your lives, in your professions, in your communities, and in the world,” he said.

Dean Crane said to become “true leaders,” the graduates must become, what Rogers referred to as, “servant leaders,” focused on making life better for those around them. “They are about giving, not taking. True leadership is service—working for others. A servant leader, rather than being at the top of the pyramid, is at the bottom, supporting those above them by providing them with the resources, opportunities and vision they need to do their jobs.”

The Class of 2012, Dean Crane said, lives in a time of tumultuous transition, much like what the school’s founders—Gifford Pinchot and Henry Graves—encountered at the beginning of the 20th century when America’s forests were being clear-cut.

“Transitions historically bring great leaders and you will be among them,” said Dean Crane. He urged them to celebrate the moment, but then cited the words of Jim Rogers: “Continue building your cathedral—one that is beautiful, awe-inspiring and has the strength to withstand the torrents of time.”

Reprinted from

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