It is my distinct honor to serve as President of the Texas Lyceum, our state’s pre-eminent non-profit, non-partisan leadership organization. Over the past 33 years, our group has developed Texas’ next generation of leaders by educating them on our most pressing policy issues. We also have protected the shared values that exemplify the State of Texas. The Texas Lyceum is all about the connections between us, and the connections between our Directors and the State of Texas. To that end, our 2013 meetings will explore the various ways we connect to each other now, and how we will connect in the future.
Each year, the Texas Lyceum hosts a Public Conference on an issue that affects all Texans. This year’s Conference, held in Austin during all the activity of the legislative session, will focus on how we physically connect to each other through Texas’ infrastructure. We will examine the various policy priorities associated with moving people and commerce throughout the state, and the difficult decisions that will attend those priorities in the coming years. We hope the Public Conference will help bring a better understanding of infrastructure issues to our statewide elected officials.
Our three quarterly meetings also will explore how we connect to each other. During our February meeting in Waco, we will focus on how the changing media landscape – particularly the rise of social media and the advent of the “blogosphere” -- affects the ways our citizens obtain news about our world. This summer, we will have the opportunity to visit one of the most valued – and remote – parts of our state, as we officially visit Marfa for the first time in our history. Among other things, this meeting will afford our Directors the chance to connect to a part of Texas many of us do not know well. And this October, in Dallas, we will discuss the state of philanthropy in Texas – the ways individual, corporate, and foundational giving helps all Texans remain connected. Finally, in a year focused on associations, it is vitally important to think about our neighbors. I am particularly excited about our optional meeting in Mexico City this June, where we will talk about the future relationship between Texas and Mexico. This conversation is especially critical following such important political, economic, and social changes south of the border.
John Luther once said that good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. While most talents are gifts, Luther believed that character is not a gift, but is built “piece by piece – by thought, choice, courage, and determination.” The Texas Lyceum is concerned with the development of character. Our founders established the organization not to be transactional, but to be transformational. The challenges facing our state are numerous. But, like those who have come before us, the Directors of the Texas Lyceum will be ready when called. In the meantime, it is incumbent on all of us to become prepared. Participate in our meetings. Get to know your colleagues from across the state. Volunteer to serve. Think about how you can make a difference inside the Lyceum, and how the Lyceum can make a difference for Texas. Above all, connect.
I look forward to serving alongside you in 2013.
With great faith in Texas,
Collin J. Cox
President, Texas Lyceum