Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
National Science Foundation
June 29, 2005
NSF is in the business of disruption, the "free play of free intellects" as Vannevar Bush put it. It is the nation's agent of intellectual surveillance at the frontiers of nature and human creativity. It is a wondrous organism in perpetual self assembly, fed by nutrients of bold ideas and courageous exploration. It is a singular light in the societal firmament guiding us to the font of knowledge with the utmost integrity of purpose and conduct. It morphs from state to state in response to those who seek the truth through deep thought and meticulous experiment. As an entity without boundaries, its shape is determined by it owners, the community writ large. Its stewards do best when they nurture it with good listening, awe-inspired attention, and a judgment here and there.
And wonderful stewards you all are, each with the shared responsibility of ensuring that the commonweal's resources are invested both robustly and with care. You go beyond going to work with good intent each day -- you love the place and burnish it with lavish attention and consummate skill.
You bring smiles to Vannevar Bush's spirit in heeding his admonishment that "science cannot live unto itself alone," that "science can be effective in the national welfare only as a member of a team." Indeed, you are a formidable team.
And to have allowed me among you in the endless journey of prodding the frontier has been my good fortune, an enormous privilege, a monumental honor...for which I am eternally grateful.
I am in your debt. I love you all dearly and I am confident that your love for me, as expressed in countless ways over my years with you, and so robustly today, will prompt you to whack the science and engineering frontier with ever greater fervor in your wondrous service to the nation. I leave you with utmost pride to have been a member of your family.
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