Drake Defends Values

Chancellor Drake revealed his deep appreciation for guiding values and strongly encouraged others to adopt values into their life at a luncheon last week.

Patrick Herrin | New University

Patrick Herrin | New University

Over 100 students and staff attended Chancellor Michael Drake’s presentation on values as part of the “What Matters to Me and Why” discussion series last Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Humanities Gateway 1030. Drake spoke for 30 minutes and allotted 20 minutes for a question and answer session with students and staff. As part of the discussion, Drake highlighted the importance of having values in our lives.

“I think that one of the reasons that we’d like to practice values and use values as guidelines is that it helps us to be the kinds of people who other people admire and like to be around and make our lives more pleasant,” Drake said.

Drake, who is a doctor by training, has lived according to the values of the medical practice, as well as those of the University of California system.

As part of his talk, Drake highlighted the importance of what he called his “seven key values” of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, empathy, appreciation for others and fun. According to Drake, all of these should be practiced in an effort “to make our lives better,” though as he put it, they are not absolute.

“Values are to be used kind of like guide posts or things that help us as we’re moving through life, they’re not paragraphs long, they are simple things to be remembered one at a time and in this instance each one is a word,” Drake said.

Drake also compared values to a traffic sign, as being something that can guide people but is also easy to follow. Despite their apparent importance, Chancellor Drake went over each of the values he had laid out in detail, giving personal advice on how to better incorporate them into their lives, though as he later explained, the idea to put the values together came spontaneously when he was ill.

“And so I had been thinking a bit about this, thinking about how people manage companies and enterprises and thought about the importance of having values to guide us as we are moving forward and so I got out a piece of paper and started writing out what a good series of values would be and I thought we should have seven because I thought seven was a good number.”

As part of the question and answer session Drake took several questions from the audience. The first question dealt with faith and values, to which Drake responded that there was a link, though not an absolute one.

“One way that one comes into contact with values is through faith and there are many, many different religions around the world so my view is that faith is one of the ways that people can help orient themselves and that I appreciate the different faiths and religions that people have, and how those orientations are different in many ways, but how they are the same in many ways, and I think that people who use values that are not faith- based and I think those can work as well.”

Later he was asked about which of his values he thinks is the most important for others to follow. Drake did not respond as the student had expected, but rather with an open-ended answer.

“You can have whatever values you want, you get to have as many as you like and whatever they are and I think that with all of them each of us has difficulty with one or the other in different times and different circumstances, and fun is difficult for me, you know my colleagues are workaholics who work all the time and you have to remember to have fun sometimes.”

Drake repeated the importance of including values into one’s life multiple times throughout the talk; he believes values will help improve someone’s overall quality of life, though this is not always guaranteed.

“If you use values to help guide the way you are conducting your life, I believe, and then you look back on your life, look back on difficult times or on difficult decisions and difficult places you have been, but you stay true to values as you are kind of migrating or navigating your way through, you tend to be able to look back without regret.”