Tonight I went to the banquet for an award that I did not win. I knew that I had been nominated and that someone else had won and that's fine, the individual who won is wonderful. It is an important night on my campus for many reasons and I was happy to go. I scored some earrings in the silent auction and had a pleasant dinner with some colleagues. I was also delighted to be there to honor a former student (and now a representative in the state House) who had won the other major award of the evening for her work in the community. This wonderful student, someone I have written about before, could not actually be there to accept as she is with a bipartisan commission of state legislators visiting Turkey at the moment. Instead, she taped her acceptance speech, which she opened by thanking the key professors, administrators, students, and fellow legislators who had helped her in all she has achieved. From there, she gracefully moved into discussing the guiding principles of her work as an advocate for women, for workers, etc., etc.... and then she thanked me. She thanked me big time -- singled me out from all the amazing people she had met as a student at our institution -- and credited me with challenging her, inspiring her, and introducing her to her role model for creating change: Ella Baker. I am so stinkin' proud of this woman and that she would share some of her accomplishments with me...in this setting...on this night. Well, I'm damn near overwhelmed. And yes, it kind of feels like I won the award after all.