In a farewell letter to his colleagues on the final day of his tenure as Chancellor of The University of Texas System, Admiral William H. McRaven wrote the following:
One of the great figures of the American Civil War was Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Chamberlain was a union officer at the battle of Gettysburg. His heroism at Little Round Top, a strategic foothold atop Cemetery Ridge, changed the course of the battle, the war and eventually the nation. For his actions that day, Chamberlain would receive the Medal of Honor. After the war, Chamberlain would go on to be the Governor of Maine and the President of Bowdoin College. Chamberlain knew a thing or two about service and sacrifice and nobility. He once said, “The power of noble deeds is to be preserved and passed to the future.”
The future of our nation rests, not solely, with the quality of our education or the effectiveness of our care. The future rests with whether we have taught our young men and women the importance of being noble, the power of the noble deed. If we have taught them well, those who have achieved much will give back to those who struggle. If we have taught them well, the strong of spirit will stand tall with the weak and downtrodden. If we have taught them well, they will understand the importance of honesty and integrity, two qualities that will define their legacy in life. If we have taught them well, they will see that true courage is confronting the injustices, big and small, that leave many less fortunate than ourselves. And, if we have taught them well, they will find faith in mankind, and know that there is nothing more honorable, nothing more noble, than doing good for others.
On that note, I say thank you for your service to this great university system, the state of Texas and the nation. It has been the privilege of my lifetime to have served alongside you. Take care of the future!