7. Dean letendre, university of iowa college of pharmacy 

Eric: Hey everybody, it's Eric Mueller. Welcome back to The Eric Mueller Show. Today, I'm really excited to introduce the second interview guest of the show, Dr. Donald E. Letendre. Currently, the Dean and a Professor at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.

 

Following completion of his Doctorate in Pharmacy as well as a clinical residency at the University of Kentucky, he served as an assistant director and assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He then went on to spend nearly two decades on staff of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, also known as ASHP, serving for much of that time as director of accreditation services.

 

He was then also a Dean and Professor at the University of Rhode Island and the executive secretary of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory Commission immediately prior to his responsibilities at Iowa. As a clinical practitioner, educator, [00:01:00] association staff member and now academic administrator, Dr. Letendre has been privileged to serve countless students and postgraduate residents throughout his career. He has actively participated in the development and implementation of standards that have helped shape pharmacy practice, residency and technician training programs worldwide.

 

Dr. Letendre is a native of Acushnet, Massachusetts. He's the eldest of eight children, the son of a fifth-generation cabinetmaker, a first-generation collegiate, husband to his high school sweetheart, father of four and grandfather of six. He has received numerous awards and special citations.

 

Recently, he was awarded the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists Outstanding Dean Award. He was also named to the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

 

I know you'll love hearing the story of a man who is the epitome of success in regard to academia and leadership. [00:02:00] Listen for Dean Letendre’s tips for how you can be more successful in your own life. Let's get to the interview.

 

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Eric: It's an honor and a privilege to welcome Dean Letendre to The Eric Mueller Show. Say hello to the folks Don.

 

Dean Letendre: Eric, how are you? Welcome everyone, and I look forward to joining you this evening Eric.

 

Eric: Appreciate you being on here. You know, being the Dean of the Iowa College of Pharmacy, I feel very privileged to interview you. Being a resident of one of your residency sites has been a great experience thus far, and I'm really excited to kind of dive into what makes your success clock tick and figure out how we can how we can learn to apply your life values to the audience.

 

So my first question I have for you is just why did you know you wanted to become a pharmacist or tell me a little bit about your you know, your desires leading [00:03:00] up to that point to go to pharmacy school.

 

Dean Letendre: Well, thank you Eric, and thanks for the privilege of being a part of your show. I want to wish you great success in this journey.

 

I grew up in a small town, a couple thousand people in Southeastern, Massachusetts. My Mom and Dad were of French-Canadian descent, and as many French-Canadians did back in the 30s and 40s, they settled in, many settled in New England, and in the case of my Mom’s family and Dad’s family, they settled in in Southeastern Massachusetts, and that's how my Mom and Dad met through French-Canadian connections if you will.

 

So, I'm the eldest of eight children, and my Dad was the fifth-generation cabinetmaker. He was a master carpenter. My mom was largely a homemaker [00:04:00] throughout her life, especially with the family that size.

 

So like all big families, you follow the work ethic of your parents, and also there was no such thing as allowance. If you wanted something, then you need to go out and earn it somehow, and so you know you start with little odds and ends jobs when you're younger like shoveling snow at this time of year and other kinds of things like that, and by the age of I don't know 10 ½, 11 years old, had a paper route that then grew into a second paper route. I hired my brother who's the next one in line to help manage that, grabbed a part-time job on the weekends working as a dishwasher at a local café, and there's a really good story in there that I would love to share with you as well at the appropriate time.

 

But while I was working as a dishwasher again, you got to remember [00:05:00] this is a small town. You're on main street, and the cafe I worked in was only a block away from the pharmacy, which was only a block away from this that and the everything that was sort of the and maybe five blocks away from the church I went to and the school I attended. So everything was in relatively close proximity to one another.

 

Well, the pharmacist in our town was looking to hire a new clerk and got to chatting with the owner of the cafe. The pharmacist used to observe that on Saturday mornings, I would go into his pharmacy and sit at the counter and cash in my money from the newspapers that I ran, and thought well gee this kid’s kind of industrious. Has newspaper route and works part-time at a cafe and as a dishwasher, and I want to learn more about this boy. So the kind gentleman who ran the café, who by the way, I just spoke to three weeks ago. [00:06:00] He's 96 years old. I still maintain close contact with he and the pharmacist that hired me who is now 86 years old.

 

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I got hired in the pharmacy. I was tall for my age. He thought I was 14. I was actually only 12.  So from my first well, I was hired in the summertime. So for the first year and a half anyway, I wasn't allowed to work behind the soda fountain or engage with the patrons like I wanted to other than answering questions. I was pretty much relegated to stocking shelves and maintaining the inventory, keeping things nice and neat and tidy and getting on my bicycle and delivering prescriptions. Those were my primary jobs.

 

So I started working at age 12 in a pharmacy, and I liked science and math, and as things progressed, [00:07:00] and I started working behind the soda fountain, and then eventually working, today you would say maybe a technician, but I was a pharmacy helper.

 

The pharmacist took me under his wing and used to give me more and more responsibilities, and I realized that one day I just sort of woke up. Gee this might be a good thing to pursue, and so there's nothing more magical than that.

 

I started working at a pharmacy at age 12 and grew to like it and had just an unbelievably terrific role model in the pharmacist that I worked at. Not much unlike Randy McDonough at your shop. Just a tremendous individual who took me under his wing, still a dear friend to this day, and who helped shepherd me along?

 

Eric: That’s great.

 

Dean Letendre: So that’s how I got into pharmacy.

 

Eric: Yeah, so, you know, it instilled that passion in you at such a young age, and I think that from [00:08:00] talking to other people that have gone to do medical professions, I know I feel, you know that I was maybe a little late to that, to the pharmacy game, but I always had that healthcare passion from a young age. You know, going through grade school and that personal connection with patients, you know, someday was a high priority for me. So thank you for sharing, you know, some of your background, and I know it helps give the audience a little bit of a, you know picture of your life and I'll just ask…

 

Dean Letendre: Bear in mind Eric, but forgive me for interrupting, but bear in mind that that is quite extraordinary because my Dad only went to sixth grade, my Mom went to high school.

 

So I was a first-generation collegiate in my family, and so while it may seem logical that you work in a pharmacy, then become a pharmacist, but just even the notion of going to college was frankly beyond my comprehension, but my Dad who was a real stickler about education, even though he wasn’t formerly well educated himself, always used to tell me that to stick with the books because my future was [00:09:00] not to be a sixth generation cabinetmaker. My future was really to go to college and do something more with my life than he or my grandfather, others did. Although, I personally think they were all very successful, but he wanted, he knew that for me to get ahead in life, I needed more education.

 

Eric: Yes, very good advice as a parent as well. I know that was one thing both my parents focused on a lot with my sister and myself was you know college was not a choice for us, it was it was a strongly referred to option. So I'm glad that that was the path they wanted me to pursue, and you went to, so you went to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, is that correct?

 

Dean Letendre: That's true, but that unto itself is a bit of a side story here, but an important one because it tackles a couple other things that I know you'll want to know about.

 

So, how did I end up at Mass College of Pharmacy?

 

Eric: Yeah!

 

Dean Letendre: It's not as simple [00:10:00] as one might think. So when I was graduating from high school, not unlike you Eric, were a student athlete as was I. Unlike you, you were in track; I was in basketball, and I had great success in basketball actually in high school, and my mindset was to use basketball as my ticket to college because having grown up in a low socio-economic household, we just didn't have the resources to pay for my education.

 

And so I set my goal as a I was a sophomore in high school. That was in part why I had switched high schools. I felt I had a better opportunity at a smaller school, and I just blossomed. I grew considerably in my junior and then again in my senior year and [00:11:00] you know, I started out in elementary school tall and then for a bunch of years, I just stalled out and didn't grow.

 

And then all of a sudden, I'm thinking to myself jeepers crimmeny, my Dad's over six-foot. What's going on over here? Well, then finally Mother Nature caught up to me, and I started to grow again and finally got up to just shy of 6’ 3”. Finally made 6’ 3” in college, but I had good success in basketball.

 

So I get noticed and was given an opportunity to play basketball at the University of Rhode Island, irony of ironies, right? Because ultimately, I became Dean at the University of Rhode Island before coming here.

 

Eric: Yeah!

 

Dean Letendre: Well anyway, back then. This you wouldn’t know this Eric, maybe a good portion of your audience wouldn’t know this, but back then, freshman in college were not allowed to play varsity sports. You had a freshman team and then in your sophomore, junior and senior you [00:12:00] played varsity. So back then, they were no such things as one and dones like there are now where you come in and shine as a freshman, and then you go pro. That would have never happened. I wasn't going pro anyway. I was not that good, but I was playing on the freshman team.

 

Well, like a lot of college coaches then, they didn't make the salaries they made now. So many college coaches had camps, and what they would do is have their players serve as their coaches for the children. So during the day time you worked with the children, and in the evening, the players played against each other, and typically, it was the incoming freshman playing against the varsity. So that way there you got to appreciate the level of play that you needed to work yourself up to

 

Eric: Sure.

 

Dean Letendre: Well, I used to be able to run like the wind, but in this summer, I was getting winded, and so they sent me to [00:13:00] the infirmary. That's what they called it to get myself checked out because they thought I had mononucleosis and because I was just tired and rundown. Well, it turned out I didn't have mononucleosis. I had Hodgkin's Disease.

 

Eric: Oh my gosh!

 

Dean Letendre: And so in a period of 10 days, I get diagnosed with Hodgkin's, I received my draft notice for Vietnam, and I lost my college scholarship. And so it was a traumatic 10 days, and that's where the pharmacist in my town comes in because he was a graduate of Mass College of Pharmacy, and he called me in. I leaned on him heavily. I was weeping because I was you know, I didn't know what Hodgkin's Disease was and how serious it was. They didn't have chemo for it like they have today, and now I find out that survival rates were much different than they are today.

 

But by the good graces of wonderful [00:14:00] medical care and the pharmacist in our town, I was introduced to Mass College of Pharmacy, which was going to be starting a basketball program the next year. Then it was NAIA, today would be Division III, but they could not offer scholarships, but they could offer an academic scholarship, and I had really good grades in high school.

 

And so they asked me if I could maintain a 3.0. Well, I didn't know what that meant. I said well, what's the 3.0, they say B average. I say oh, yeah, I can maintain a B average. So they told me if I maintain to be average, this gentleman who headed up admissions said that they would find scholarship money for me.

 

Well Eric, I'm very pleased to tell you that I did have a relapse in college of my Hodgkin’s and so my basketball career in college was held to one season only, and it was only a portion of a season because I got ill again, but students [00:15:00] in my class helped me, faculty helped me.

 I made it through I maintain good grades, and I graduated from college with a $2,000 bill. That was it. I receive scholarship support to get myself through college.

 

So you can imagine now as a Dean, how much that resonates with me and wanting to help current students. So that's how I ended up at Mass College of Pharmacy. It was largely through the intervention of our local community pharmacist. My mentor who reached out to them, explained to them my situation, and they were willing and wanting to take me in. First as a student and then hopefully as a basketball player.  The first worked out great, the second was only so-so.

 

Eric: Yeah, you kind of work you were naturally pushed in the direction you were meant to go it seems and that yeah. I love that story. I think that they really shows, you know, the value that pharmacy can have and the story that many pharmacists want to show the world. [00:16:00] And you can see with the you know, the COVID pandemic, the value that pharmacy and community pharmacy, where I'm at currently, can provide to people. And it’s very profound and it kind of leads me into a…go ahead sir.

 

Dean Letendre: It also shows you how much that people are giving and wanting to help, and quite honestly given the bumpy road that I had while I was 18-19 years old. Without the guidance of the pharmacist in our town, good medical care the folks at in particular Dr. Kulcasian, who headed up Admissions and was Dean of students for Mass College of Pharmacy. Just hugely influential in helping me get through.

 

Quite frankly, the rest of it I had to do on my own as a student, but even students in my class who knew that I was ill, stepped up and helped me out big time giving me copies of their notes and helping to [00:17:00] coach me. You know a lot of people to thank and that's important because when I hear things like I'm a self-made person, self-made man, self-made woman. I really don't believe in that because I really think that I've yet to meet a person who has done it all on their own. That usually the most common thing is for others to step up and help guide you. Sometimes you call them mentors, sometimes you call them friends, whatever the case might be. People that help you along your journey.

 

Eric: Yeah and kind of building off of that. Do you have one person or a few people that have been your greatest inspiration in your life?

 

Dean Letendre: So three.

 

Eric: Okay!

 

Dean Letendre: Not counting the personal side. 

 

Eric: Sure.

 

Dean Letendre: First and foremost would be the gentleman who owned the cafe in town because, Roland Capstonegaze his name. Roland helped me immeasurably when I was a young boy, gave me confidence, and he was the person that recommended me to Manny Lima, [00:18:00] who's the pharmacist in our town who then hired me, and then when I got to graduate school and residency training at the University of Kentucky, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Paul Parker was my professional mentor. Along with Manny, of course, in my early days in pharmacy.  Manny just called himself I'm just a community pharmacist.

 

Well in my eyes, he's a whole heck of a lot more than that because I know what he meant to our community. But Paul Parker was really the one who had helped instill the core fabric of the professional that I am today in terms of my thinking and he's the one that really helped shape me to think about the world of pharmacy as a much bigger place than the community pharmacy I grew up in.

 

Eric: Yeah, very true and I think that kind of touches on how I view myself early on in my career in establishing those network relationships with those people that that can mentor you and teach [00:19:00] you and have done the things that maybe you aspire to do, and I think that's very very essential to achieving your goals.

 

And I also just wanted to ask and share with the audience who are not familiar with pharmacy and pharmacy degrees. So you received a bachelor of pharmacy from Massachusetts?

 

Dean Letendre: Correct.

 

Eric: And then you trained and also received a PharmD from the University of Kentucky?

 

Dean Letendre: Correct. Back then Eric, unlike today where the only degree you can get in pharmacy is the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, like in medicine you get a MD or in dentistry a DMD. Today is you know, but the audience perhaps doesn't it's only been since about 1998-1999 that we have gone all PharmD as a profession.

 

Prior to that, it was a five-year bachelor's degree, and that started around 1960. Prior to that, it was a four-year bachelor's degree, [00:20:00] and so my mentor Manny, finished school in four years, four-year bachelors. He graduated in 1960.

 

And then I did the five-year bachelor's and then followed that up with three years of additional study to get my PharmD degree and also did a residency training as well at the University of Kentucky.

 

Eric: Yes. Yes, and I also just want to share this with the audience and congratulate you from your recent recognition with the University of Kentucky. The Alumni Hall of Fame that's an honor. I mean, that's I think that is and especially as a Dean now, you can use that to inspire students of all communities and all colleges, whether it's pharmacy or not to just see, you know, the story of where you came from and how you achieved the success of getting where you are today. So congratulations to that.

 

Dean Letendre: Well, thank you Eric. When they call me to tell me that I was going to be an Inductee in the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame, I asked them if they had dialed the wrong number! I said, you're [00:21:00] either slim pickings or you dialed the wrong number, one or the other.

 

Eric: That's awesome!

 

Dean Letendre: Thank you though.

 

Eric: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know some people, maybe that motivates them to chase awards and things like that. I don't know if you know, it's very common that you would. I'm guessing your answer to that would be you're not doing it for the awards, but I think it from people starting off in their careers, and I know that I've sometimes felt this way. It's easy to get caught up in you kind of like, ah it'd be nice to have some recognition like that or something, but at the same time keeping that modesty I feel like is important and knowing why you're doing it.

 

Dean Letendre: I can tell you quite honestly whether it was athletics when I was younger or all my professional career, I have never done this for awards.  I did it because I enjoyed it. And I think that when you start thinking [00:22:00] about things like awards, you lose perspective.

 

And I think it's important to, my Dad was a man of few words, but my Dad used to have some sayings that I don't think he made them up, but he enjoyed using them, and one of them that he used to say to me all the time as a child is don't get too big for your britches.

 

Eric: Sure.

 

Dean Letendre: Don't in other words, don't let your head get bigger than the room. Stay within yourself. And so even though I've had wonderful opportunities and a great deal of responsibility, I've always stayed true to my roots. I'm a small-town guy. I feel most comfortable in that. I can certainly work in a large city, but I feel really comfortable in a small town. I feel as comfortable in a pair of jeans as I do in a three-piece suit. I've never [00:23:00] forgotten where I came from, and I have a little Dad on one shoulder and a little Mom the other shoulder constantly reminding me about my youth and the values that were instilled in me during my youth.

 

Eric: That's wonderful, and I think staying true to yourself and knowing why you're doing it and the reasons behind it really leads to a rewarding career for yourself and a rewarding life for yourself and others around you. And doing it for the right reasons. So I appreciate you sharing that.

 

So kind of walk us through, so you have the bachelor’s in pharmacy and then you did with some residency training and got a Doctor of Pharmacy. And then you kind of had what I would call kind of a more non-traditional career path as a pharmacist. So kind of walk us through what happened next there and you got involved with some other type of higher up learning environments.

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah, so first when I left the University of Kentucky, I went from UK to KU. I went from Kentucky to Kansas. I was hired at the University of Kansas. My primary [00:24:00] appointment was in the College of Pharmacy, but I had a secondary appointment in the College of Medicine. Then it would have been applied pharmacology. Today, we would call it therapeutics. So I taught that.

 

I practiced at the University of Kansas. Most of my time was in the emergency room. At a time when pharmacists in this country were not practicing in the emergency room. In fact, we reached out just a couple of us and at the time we could only identify four of us that were working in emergency rooms in the country. So it was not common.

 

My only claim to fame and those days was that I was the first PharmD hired the state of Kansas. Kansas had a bachelor's program, did not have a PharmD, did not recognize the PharmD.

 

So that was interesting when I went to get license because they said we can't. I'd already taken the job, my wife and I had moved there, [00:25:00] and they said to me well, you can't be licensed in Kansas. I said, what do you mean? They said well we don't recognize the PharmD.

 

And I swear to God to Eric, I was standing in the Board of Pharmacy there and talking to the gentleman who was most understanding. He wasn't being rude, when it dawned on me that I had bachelor's degree in pharmacy before I got my PharmD. So he told me he says oh no problem that we can go ahead and license you. So they were able then to reciprocate my license from Kentucky to Kansas. But yeah, I it was an interesting exchange when I found out that my additional education in their eyes didn't amount to a hill of beans at that point in time.

 

So anyway, when I did, and I spent some wonderful years there. We started an investigational drug service, help to bring some others along in other pharmacists on the [00:26:00] team to begin to assume greater clinical responsibilities. It was a great, wonderful opportunity.

 

Well, apparently what I was doing caught notice of the American Society of then called Hospital Pharmacists, now Health-System Pharmacists, and they had established a brand new position called the Director of Clinical Affairs and with a linkage to accreditation services because they wanted to start building clinical residencies.

 

Bear in mind that in the early 80s, up until that point, 60s 70s and early 80's, all of the residencies were in hospital pharmacy, which were largely focused on pharmacy operations. Unit dose, IV adds, the operational aspects of Pharmacy, but it was only in the 70s that this thing called clinical pharmacy was starting to emerge, and of course I had had wonderful training in that regard at the University of Kentucky.

 

So anyway, [00:27:00] make a long story short. I was hired by ASHP as employee number 27, and started there in the summer of 1982, and at the upon the advice for my mentor Paul Parker, who said that there would be a really good stepping stone for me. So Donald just go there and work for three years. He says this will open up all kinds of gates for you and use this opportunity.

 

Well, I didn't work there for three years. I ended up working there for 19 and a half years, and that's what we raised our family. We had two children in Kansas and then had two more in Maryland. We lived in Maryland. ASHP’s headquarters were in Bethesda, Maryland, so I lived on the Maryland side and stayed on the Maryland side I should say, even though we had several employees work over in Virginia since it was so close, but I just had a wonderful career there.

 

Took, assumed more and more and more responsibilities [00:28:00] and eventually shed the Director of Clinical Services and took over total responsibility for leading accreditation services and helping to build residencies in the United States. When I started there were less than a hundred and when I left, I don't know, it was just under a thousand. Don't know the exact number, but we grew it considerably during the nearly 20 years that I was there.

 

Also helped develop residency training programs and accreditation services program in Canada and worked with many other countries across the globe in helping them with this new concept for them called postgraduate residency training, which continues to this day. I'm very very proud of what we established.

 

We took it from hospital residencies to clinical residencies to specialty residencies, and of course out of that grew board certification and so on and so forth. [00:29:00] So it was a tremendous time in the 80s and 90s in the growth of residency training, and when I left at the turn of the century to become Dean at the University of Rhode Island, of course that momentum continued. Today, I think they must have I don't know probably twice what we had when I was director of accreditation services.

 

So great opportunity to take an enterprise, which was fledgling at the time and to grow it in to, help grow it into what it is today. So including the program you're in by the way. I accredited, I was the lead surveyor on the team that the accredited the University of Iowa Community-Based residency training program, which was the first one in the United States of America.

 

Eric: Well, thank you very much for making it possible for me to be doing what I'm doing right now. I appreciate that.

 

Dean Letendre: Ah, I didn’t make it possible, the University of Iowa did. Jay Currie, all [00:30:00] the other folks who helped put that program together. I just came in to review it and offer commentary about how it could be better, but it was the first college-based, multi-site community-based residency in the United States of America.

 

Eric: It’s fantastic. It's nice claim to fame for your college to have that to have that accolade there.

Dean Letendre: Who would have thought that when I was at Kentucky, going to Kansas that I would end up at ASHP, and then help with a residency training program that I’d now have responsibilities.

Eric: Yeah, it is kind of funny! Yeah!

 

Dean Letendre: So it's well, and I say that only because as Dean you have responsibility for the whole thing, but not certainly not day-to-day. Stevie Veach, on our faculty, Jay Currie before and now Stevie. Each is really the person of record of the program.

 

Eric: Fantastic. Well, thanks for sharing that. That gives the audience a nice clear picture of how you got to where you are as far as the roles you've had. What [00:31:00] advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a similar path as you such as an academia or an administrative role, you know kind of regardless of which field they're in, whether it's pharmacy or anything else?

 

Dean Letendre: When I was at ASHP, Eric, I can honestly tell you if you went, if you had come to me in the year 2000 and said what do you want to do the rest of your life? I'd say this. I want to I want to retire from ASHP. This is what I'm going to do the rest of my life. I was very passionate about residency training, we had great momentum.

 

We had taken an enterprise which was not self-sufficient and made it into one that was completely self-sufficient, and I was incredibly networked with the pharmacy program directors and preceptors throughout the United States and beyond. [00:32:00] And then to see the products of those programs go out and become change agents was just in, I mean the momentum it was just an incredible thing.

 

Well, the University of Rhode Island called me, a member of their search committee and said, well listen we have this Deanship at Rhode Island and your name has been mentioned more than once. You’re a New England kid. We thought maybe you might find it of interest to come back to Rhode Island.

 

Little did they know about my relationship with Rhode Island early in my career. They knew nothing about that. I found that to be quite ironic.

 

Eric: Most definitely.

 

Dean Letendre: But I said, “No. Who wants to be a Dean?” This was a quote. I said to them that I thought being a Dean was the dumbest damn job in the world. There's no way I want, I said managing faculty is like herding cats. No, I don't want any part of that. So I said that not just once, not just twice but three times and finally on the third time, [00:33:00] the President of the University.

 

Now, Robert Carruthers if I call him Bob. We had a nice conversation and one thing led to another, and I ended up applying for the position and got the position as Dean, but it was with great reluctance that I actually went into the Deanship because that's not something I wanted to do.

 

But then had great success at Rhode Island, which then led to an opportunity to come here to the University of Iowa. Now this summer will make 14 years that I'll have been Dean here at Iowa. I came in the summer of 2007, and so going back to the question at hand is I never aspired to be a Dean. Yes, I am a fully tenured professor. Started out my career as an assistant professor at the University of Kansas, then left [00:34:00] academia to go to ASHP as I mentioned, and now here I am back in academics, albeit not as a practitioner. I did teach some elective courses, but they were more on leadership and advocacy and those sorts of things. Nothing to do with the clinical training I had early in my career.

 

But being an academic administrator for now 20 plus years without ever having thinking that that's something, that's not something I ever aspired to do. But I can tell you Eric, God's honest truth. As much as I loved the position I had at ASHP, I loved the last 20 plus years as Dean even more.

 

And so the message is that sometimes you find that the greatest opportunities aren’t ones that you seek, but ones that become available. [00:35:01] And either through the generosity of others who point you in that direction or your willingness to take a leap of faith, which would poking and prodding from my wife and my daughter. That's why I largely pursued the resident. Pardon me, the Deanship at Rhode Island.

 

I think that sometimes the business of having a, I think it's good to have a plan that no question about that. We can talk more about that, but I think these rigid plans where I want to be this and I want to be that. It's good to aspire to be certain things, but the environment around you might not necessarily adhere to the same timeline that you might have. So being patient, taking advantage of opportunities when they do arise, being calculated risk but taking a willingness to take some risk [00:36:01] because changing positions, especially when you go from a faculty member to association work, and then switching out of association work and going back into Academia, but not as a really as a clinician educator, but as an administrator. Each of those steps takes a bit of a leap of faith.

 

Eric: Definitely agree, and I think you bring up a very good point about that as far as you know, how your interests or aspirations might naturally change over time, and if you would have asked, you know, your younger self. What do you want to do, you know going into your higher education initially was to play basketball and to do that. I thought, I think it's kind of cool that you ended up being involved with both KU and UK, which are both very prominent basketball programs. So I think that you maybe got a little of that experience, and I don't know how much, if you want any of the games or anything.

 

Dean Letendre: Oh, yeah, season. All the years at Kentucky and all the years at Kansas, we hardly missed a game. So and fortunately my wife [00:37:01] is a very avid sports fan. So it wasn't hard for me to get a date to go to the these ball games for sure. But yes, you know Sports and my professional, my wife is a registered nurse. So health care, I won't even say pharmacy but healthcare and sports have been very much intertwined throughout the course of our of our personal/professional life. Yes.

 

So think about this Eric. And anybody can, hopefully in your audience they can appreciate this. But if you were a young boy, 12, 13, 14, 15 years old, whatever, and you said and you know that your parents are products of high school, but no one in your family has ever gone to college before.

 

And you said I'm going to go to college. I'm going to become a pharmacist. [00:38:01] I am going to go to graduate school, residency training and oh by the way, along the way, I think I'm going to be the Dean of a Big Ten College of Pharmacy.

 

I think the first thing that people would ask you as a teenager aspiring to such a thing as what are you smoking? Because that was not, none of those things. I mean just the idea that I could become a pharmacist was just an enormous challenge in my mind because that required me going to college, and the fact that all of these other things have come true in my life have been extraordinary.

 

My Mom and Dad did live long enough to see me become Dean at Rhode Island. And of course, they were incredibly proud. Neither lived long enough to see me become Dean at Iowa. But yeah, it’s been an incredible journey, and I've had so many people on the professional side [00:39:01] help me, as I mentioned several of them that were most prominent, and of course along the way, I've had unbelievable support from my girlfriend. My lifelong girlfriend. My wife of 46 years has been my most staunch supporter each step of the way.

 

Eric: Thank you for sharing that and I mean, looking at your career as a, you know recently graduated pharmacist, I would say you've had a great deal of success. You know, a pinnacle of academia to be a Dean of a College of Pharmacy is you know, kind of out of this world.

 

As far as if you were to ask, you know pharmacy students, you know, what would be in academia, how do you know you've made it to the top? I would say a lot of them would probably answer that: You're the Dean. You're the man or woman. So I would say that’s successful, but I just I'm curious to ask you. What is what is your definition of success?

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah. Well, there are a lot of people, I guess if you interview a hundred [00:40:01] people you're going to get a hundred different definitions, right? And so in my, what I like to do is focus success on being purposeful.

 

So for me there has to be a purpose, and if you're pursuing a purpose, there is a certain direction in which you want to go. I always look at it incrementally. So rather than looking at it that you have one huge success, they are incremental successes. Incremental positive steps because you're purposefully going in a particular direction. So I try not to when I view success, I guess I don't view it as this big pie in the sky. I view it as incremental steps where I'm moving in a positive direction that's in keeping with the purpose that I have set forth for myself.

 

And so [00:41:01] maybe that goes right back to what I talked about earlier with my Dad. I just want always keep myself in check and not get myself ahead of myself. I think it's important to take things incrementally because when you look back on it, I believe I've been extraordinarily successful, but I didn't feel that way along the journey. Looking back in the rearview mirror, yes, but along the way, no because it's all been incremental and very purposeful. 

 

Eric: Yeah, absolutely.

 

Dean Letendre: And very unpredictable because the only job that I ever got that I really pursued was the first one. The other three just kind of fell in my lap.

 

Eric: Kind of funny how things can work out like that. It's crazy!

 

Well, thank you for that definition. I mean, I know that like you said, you asked a hundred people you get a hundred different answers. I believe that to be true as well, but kind [00:42:01] of building off of that. Do you think there's any sort of pattern or formula that one can harness to be more successful, or are there certain habits that one could emulate that can get them to their next level?

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah, there's sort of a common thread in leadership. I've read a lot of books on leadership. I really have, and I would fashion myself as a student of leadership if you will. I enjoy reading about it because I enjoy reading about other people's successes and what it took for them to get to where they had set their sights on.

 

What I've come to learn Eric, is that there are a series of common characteristics for successful people, and I so I've tried to emulate others. There's a number of people in my life during the course of my life where I've looked at them and I gosh, [00:43:01] you know that particular trait is something I would like to incorporate in my life. I don't want the total person. There are other parts of that person I don't want to copy, but there are parts of that person that I really want to copy.

 

And so what I've tried to do is be observant of other people who have had successful careers in leadership and tried to sort of pick and choose the best characteristics and do the best I can and try to integrate that in my life. I'm sure if somebody else were looking at me, there are certain characteristics that I have that they might like to emulate and others that they might not like to emulate. I think it's just natural to do that. So I'm by no means a perfect at all.

 

But I do think that there are certain things that help drive you as a person. So one in terms of being successful. I think you have to have when you come into a leadership role, [00:44:01] whether it was at ASHP or Rhode Island or here. You give yourself a little bit of time because you just don't want to go in like gangbusters, but it's important as a leader that you develop a vision, and there's an old Chinese proverb that says, “Vision without action is hallucination.”

 

And so you have to have a vision that you know you can actualize because if you can actualize it, then it's just a lot of words. Maybe putting it simply for other people, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” And so whether it's a vision or a goal, however, you want to define it.

 

I think it's important that you have that and that you can set your mind on that, but what's more important. That’s okay that you do that, but now you've got to communicate that effectively because now you need the rest of the team to get behind and work together, or I shouldn't say behind, [00:45:01] but beside you and work together. And so that you can realize that vision or realize that goal.

 

So being able to establish in your mind, a vision, a goal. Being able to articulate that effectively. So communication is key.

 

I think that that another characteristic that's fundamentally important is a high degree of Integrity. You better walk the talk. If you're going to be a leader, then you need to be someone that other people want to emulate. So walking the talk is very important in my mind and comporting yourself with a high degree of professionalism is, and I speak to my students about this all the time.

 

20 years worth of students, and they'll tell you that one of the first words they hear it out of my out of my mouth is the word professionalism, and we break that down. I believe not every leader [00:46:01] displays this characteristic, but I believe and put a high premium on honesty. So integrity and honesty are very important.

 

I think it's really fundamentally important again as someone that others want to emulate that you demonstrate the characteristics of integrity and honesty.

 

And then the last piece that I wanted to throw out there is empathy. You need to understand the people around you. They have highs and lows, and so being connected to human beings requires that you have a good emotional quotient. And so your ability to have empathy and understand people and meet people where they're at.

 

Sometimes they can just knock it out of the park because they can [00:47:01] focus on that. But what happens if something untoward happens in their family and they’re in a low point. Do you give up on that person? No, you understand them, and you meet them where they're at.

 

And believe me, if you do that when they recover my goodness gracious, wait to see how they achieve, and so I think that that leaders recognize that people on their team are at different points all the time and being able to see that and work with that and help to encourage them. I think is really important, so a high degree of empathy.

 

And going back to communication. What makes for an effective communicator? It's not just words out of your mouth. I would argue, vehemently that the most effective communicators are good listeners to start with. So in order to communicate well, you need to listen to the person because as my Mom and Dad would say, you know, it's a two-way [00:48:01] street here. My Dad liked to say that there's a reason why God gave you two ears and one mouth. You listen twice as much as you talk, and so I've not lost sight of that.

 

Yes, you have to jibber jabber a lot as a Dean. Yes. There's no question about that. But I have really worked hard, and I'm trying to improve all the time at being a good listener because that helps you become a more effective communicator. So those are some of the characteristics that I believe make for just a good leader and those are some of the characteristics that I keep, you know as the expression goes, sharpening the saw. Those are the things I keep trying to sharpen the saw on all the time.

 

Eric: I love it. I love it. Thank you for sharing those tips. I know that like, you know they sound maybe simple when you say them, but putting them into action I think would be that, you know the challenge. And just that daily practice of like you said, making those small incremental steps purposely forward. I know that I try [00:49:01] to do that in my own life.

 

It's tough to you know, stay on track all the time. But if you can do it just on average, if you can make sure that you're doing it most of the days of the week. And you know, slowly get into the doing it every day of the week. I think that makes a big difference.

 

Dean Letendre: It's important when you're in a position of leadership, Eric. Oftentimes, you have to take pause, and the reason is because in the world that I have lived in since 1982, the successes that have I've had have not been measured in minutes and hours and days. It’s typically months and years, and it would be very easy to get discouraged and say well gosh, I'm not accomplishing anything.

 

Only as I said earlier, when you look back at the review mirror, you realize oh my goodness gracious. We've accomplished a lot, and I say we because it's important to recognize [00:50:01] that you didn't do it alone. You did it with a team and yes, you might have been at the head of the parade, but it's a team effort.

 

So it's always important for you to take pause and reflect upon the incremental changes that you have helped bring about because by doing so, it’ll bring you a great deal of satisfaction. When you look back and you say goodness gracious. Yes, we have moved the needle.

 

If you think about it only looking forward and not taking time to reflect, then it's not as readily apparent, but when you take time to reflect you, go goodness gracious. We’ve moved the needle a whole heck of a lot further than I thought we moved it.

 

Eric: Yeah, that it reminds me of a quote from one of my cross-country teammates in high school. We were on a run. I think we were on an 8-mile run for the day. And we were maybe about 5 or 6 miles in, and I was getting a little bit tired. I think I was a freshman, and he was a senior, and his advice to me was “Don't think of how far we have left to go, think of how far we've already gone.” [00:51:01]

 

So it kind of perfectly aligns with what you just said there. Think you can, I kind of feel that too in the moment, it feels like you know, I have some big dreams and goals, and I'm thinking towards the future like gosh I want to get to that level kind of now but to think of at least where I've gotten now from pharmacy school, graduating, like the things I've accomplished thus far. You can see that progress has been made, it just when you're in the moment, it seems like you, maybe seems like you’re kind of treading water a little bit. But yeah, just kind of an interesting parallel between success and athletics. You know that daily devotion that you have to have to your craft to be able to get better.

 

Dean Letendre: Right. Yeah, so those are some of the things that I hold true in leadership, and once again, they're words that come out of your mouth, the more challenging thing to do is to try to live those words.

 

Eric: Yeah, absolutely agree. So the backbone of The Eric Mueller Show is to really explore what makes any successful person's [00:52:01] inner clock tick. So you've shared some of those tips as far as how you can be more successful, but what is the one single driving force that keeps your inner clock ticking towards success in your life?

 

Dean Letendre: You know people talk about the word failure. That's not in my lexicon by the way. I like, I prefer the word ,and I digress and tell you about that in a moment, but I think when you come from humble beginnings, there's always this sense.

 

My Dad never had a security blanket. He didn't have a pension. He didn't have this. It was incumbent upon my Dad, to earn that next week's salary so he could pay the mortgage or put food on the table or whatever the case might be. So if my Dad was ill or if he got hurt. When he didn't work, it was a 100% loss. There wasn't things like vacation time and sick time and [00:53:01] those sorts of things.

 

And so I think for me, witnessing my Dad, my grandfather and how hard they worked. There was always, I've always felt like I needed to, it's not fear of failure, but perhaps not wanting to dishonor my family. That I wanted to make my Mom and Dad proud that the boy they raised took it one step further than what they did, which was what their hope was.

 

So for me, I think what has driven me more than anything has been to just my family name. You know, they can take everything away from me, but you can't take away my name, and so for me, my name means a lot and more than I can, [00:54:01] that I could put a value on. It just means everything to me, and so I never wanted to dishonor my name, my family name. So I think that's what's perhaps driven me more than anything else.

 

Eric: I love that answer. I think that I know that resonates with me, and it kind of brings in the notion of wanting to leave a legacy behind, you know. Once you leave this world, you know, you have something that will live on and motivate others and be a positive piece to their lives. So kind of gets me interested and wanting to ask you. Do you have a most joyful memory of giving back to your community whether that be in pharmacy or athletics or with your family?

 

Dean Letendre: You know on the professional side, there have been a number of things that I've been fortunate to be associated with, but perhaps when everything is said and done, [00:55:02] they were two accomplishments that I believe many will assign my name to.

 

And that is that it's rare for Dean to be associated with building a brand new College of Pharmacy because you don't build a new one every year. It's only once every 50, 60, 100 years, whatever the case might be. I got to spearhead that initiative at two colleges of pharmacy.

 

When I was at the University of Rhode Island, I spearheaded the initiative to build a brand new College of Pharmacy at Rhode Island. Secured the resources to make that happen, left just before the recession hit, and so as a consequence, it wasn't finished before I left as Dean. I've only got to go back as a special guest and see it completed afterwards, but then upon coming here to Iowa, I did the same daggone thing all over again. [00:56:02]

 

It felt like déjà vu. The two buildings, both the building at Rhode Island and the building here at Iowa were built the exact same year, so finished in 1961.

 

Eric: Oh my gosh! Wow.

 

Dean Letendre: So they were very similar in architectural design, served our profession very well in the 60s and 70s and 80s, but clearly not the kind of contemporary facility you need for today's clinically focused education nor the kind of science that we’re pursuing today, highly complex.

 

So I suppose that if you asked me to give you one example, I would say having spearheaded the initiative to build a college of pharmacy at not one, but two colleges of pharmacy in this country would certainly stand out. There are other things, but that would be very high on the list only because it took a lot of patience, perseverance, and persistence to help make that happen. And that's where I'm sitting right now. I'm sitting in my office [00:57:02] in what is now the largest, most complex college of pharmacy dedicated facility in the United States of America.

 

Eric: And it's a beautiful facility, and I've had some experience there, and my orientation for this residency was there. I enjoy whenever I get to go and be there for a little bit. The students there are lucky. I don't know maybe some days they don’t feel like that if you know, they have some work to be done there. But yeah, I applaud you on that on that project.

 

That's a beautiful building, and you're probably the only person maybe ever, to have done that with two different schools because like you said, I mean 50-60 years per school. That's not, not only to have that happen, but then to be the Dean at one and then do it at another like that. I'm guessing you're the only one to have ever done that so.

 

Dean Letendre: Others have asked me about that in the history of pharmacy, and I believe that in the history of pharmacy, I’m the only Dean to ever have accomplished that.

 

Eric: That is incredible! Congratulations on that.

 

Dean Letendre: You know, if you look at it that way, I would say that that's a very cherished memory. [00:58:02] And on the sort of personal professional side. When I was Dean at Rhode Island, I got to take, Hurricane Katrina had come through and hit other parts, but it was especially devastating to Texas and especially Louisiana.

 

And so one year, I was able to take 21 students and spend a week in the state of Louisiana and worked with Habitat for Humanity building homes. Now remember my background. I’m the son of a carpenter, master carpenter and cabinet maker. So I am, my Dad used to joke, I'm a southpaw - I'm left-handed. So he told me there's no way I can become a carpenter because all my cuts will be the other slant!

 

Eric: The wrong way!

 

Dean Letendre: So he used to bust my chops about that all the time. And but anyway, [00:59:02] I got to go to Slidell, Louisiana and help 21 students learn how to use a saw and a hammer and power tools and so on and so forth, and we built, we helped build some homes for a week, and that was a very, very joyful memory.

 

Eric: Most definitely. I think that feeling of giving back and that good feeling that you get when you do that is very profound. I know I feel that way with with COVID right now. Giving some vaccinations in the pharmacy and helping people get through this, you know, kind of crazy time in the world. So thanks for sharing that story Don. I appreciate that.

 

Dean Letendre: My pleasure.

 

Eric: Yeah, so kind of switching gears a little bit on you, but still diving back into your memory bank. Do you have a favorite childhood memory and if it has to do with athletics, that's great, but if not.

 

Dean Letendre: Well, yeah, I mentioned earlier that I'm the eldest of eight children and growing up, the next in line is my brother Norman. Norman’s 16 months younger than I and so [01:00:02] we got a chance to Little League, Pony League, Teener league, basketball. We played high school basketball together, baseball together. We played sports together from the time we were what 8-9 years old right up until the time we were in our 20s actually because we played for our was called the Senior CYO League. This was a boy, a men's league largely comprised of players who had played high school and college basketball and we play for our parish. And so I got a chance to play basketball my brother until I was like, I don't know 22-23 years old,

 

But my most cherished memory of my days in Little League, and I remember I was the backup catcher on our Little League team. I was about 10 years old, and my brother was 9, [01:01:03] and he was the bat boy, and that's really important to remember.

 

And so on Saturdays, my Dad would always ask us to, he would wiggle our toeat about seven o'clock in the morning, which was a ridiculous hour when you're a child on a Saturday morning, but he needed an extra pair of hands to help him put the lumber in the truck. So the lumber he was going to use during the course of that week for whatever it was that he was building.

 

So we would go to the lumber yard in Gurnee Mills. I remember it, and it was a few towns over from where we lived. And they used to cut their own wood and dry it, dry kiln and that's where you would get his lumber.

 

On this particular Saturday morning, we're going down the road, and we knew it like the back of our hand, and driving with my Dad. And you'd get to this T in the road and instead of taking a left like we would normally do to Gurnee Mills, he took a right. And my brother who is the younger one who's sitting in the middle of the [01:02:03] panel truck and I'm on the door, we're looking at each other like what’s Dad doing?

 

And my Dad's not saying anything, and we're just curious but we're driving down the road and next thing, you know, we come to a café. And so we pull up at this café, and my Dad starts to get out of it. Truck and he looks at my brother and said, well you going to get out? And we're like, oh, okay, you know, I guess maybe we're going for a treat or something.

 

So we get out of the truck, and we go into this cafe and you know, when you leave the light and you go in the dark and you open it up and you know, you can't see quite well.

 

Eric: Blinded!

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah, you’re sort of blinded. Well, we do get in there, and my brother and I always wear our baseball caps, and we played for police, like the local town police department. So we had “P” on our hats for police, and we both had our caps on.

 

I was you know, the backup catcher and my brother was the bat boy on our Little League team. We look in the back, and my brother and I look [01:03:03] at each other with eyes as big as meatballs. And I said to my brother Norman, that's Ted Williams. And my Dad standing actually says, well you just going to stand there or are you going to go say hi?

 

And so we moved, and we got in proximity and Ted Williams was holding court with his buddies, his fishing and hunting buddies in the town of Lakeville, Massachusetts. And which was only like I said three towns over from where we lived, and so we go there and one of the gentlemen said, hey Ted looks like you got a couple ball players here that might want to say hi to you.

 

So my Dad nudges us on the back and we go to the front and so he said, “Hey! Who do we have here?”

 

Well, Ted Williams was 6’5”full day. He was called a Splendid Splinter, tall and lean. That man stuck his hand out, and when he wrapped [01:04:03] his hand around my little hand, he just enveloped my hand. I mean it disappeared. So, you know, you go to shake, my Dad taught us the proper way to shake hands, and so Ted Williams gestures, and I go over and I sit on Ted Williams lap.

 

And he says so what do you do? So I'm the backup catcher on our Little League team. And he goes on to talk about how important catching is and how that's really good and you know taps me on the back and tells me that's a really good position. And incidentally, I was a catcher right up through high school. I never played any other position, and so I was so proud, you know when I get down. Of course, this is the days before cell phones, there’s no pictures. They didn't even think about asking for an autograph. Nothing. My little brother gets on his lap. What position did Ted Williams play Eric? Do you know?

 

Eric: I actually do not. What position did he play?

 

Dean Letendre: He played for the Red Sox his entire career, and he played left field. My brother’s what on the team? He's the bat boy.

 

Eric: He's the bat boy, yeah.

 

Dean Letendre: [01:05:03] He sits on Ted Williams lap and Ted Williams says, “What position do you play?” My brother the little snot says, “I play left field!” And he goes “Oh! My favorite kind of ball player!” He gives him a big hug, and he says, “Oh! This is the future left fielder for the Boston Red Sox!” And he’s just regaling him.

 

And I’m standing there stewing going you lying little snot! You told Ted Williams you were the left fielder for the, you're the bat boy. Of course my Dad's just giggling because he knew what the truth is, and I'm steaming because my brother one-upped me for sure.

 

That memory sticks with me forever. One of the things I never did, and my brother and I talked about this. I regret this to this day. We never asked my Dad how he knew that Ted Williams would be there because my Dad was not a sports fan. He like boxing, but the traditional sports: baseball, basketball, football. My Dad didn't follow [01:06:03] any of that. So how he knew but he knew baseball was important to my brother and I, and good for him that that he took the time out of his day to take us there and make a memory that I'll never, and there's no photograph. There's no signature. The only place it resides is in my memory bank.

Eric: Absolutely. I was going to ask that too. I was curious if your father had set that up or if he knew that, you know if he had some connection that I was able to contact him. That's crazy!

 

Dean Letendre: Well, I can only assume you know, there's a lot of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, you know my Dad knew all these folks. My Dad loved to fish and loved to hunt. I can only assume that through a friend, through a friend whatever said hey, you know, you boys play baseball, did you know that. And my Dad's like well shoot, you know, that's a hop skip and a jump from where we go every Saturday morning.

 

If he's holding court, this was in the fall after baseball season, if he’s holding court over there, [01:07:03] we'll take a shot and go. We never had breakfast there. We didn't spend a dime there. My Dad didn't have the money to do that, but we did go in and we got to meet Ted Williams.

Eric: Yeah, what a great memory and like you said, you know, you don't necessarily need the photo or the autograph to know that it happened because you were there and you lived it so.

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah, so and the fact that I got to do it with my brother who I love more than I can put into words. My best friend growing up and you know just a very, very, very special human being and special person in my life. To be able to share that cherished moment with my brother and then to have the little snot upstage stage me was frosting on the cake. Then I was steaming, now we laugh like crazy when we think about it.

 

Eric: He was thinking pretty strategically there to get the response from the player that he wanted.

 

Dean Letendre: How does a nine-year-old think of that?

 

Eric: Yeah, I know it gets me thinking too. Yeah, [01:08:03]  he was wise beyond his years at that point.

Dean Letendre: Yeah he was. He still is.

 

Eric: That's perfect. Well Don, we're kind of, you know, getting towards the end of the interview. Kind of winding down. I have one last burning question for you before we close and you can take a moment to think about it if you need to but just broadly what is your favorite aspect of being the Dean of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy?

 

Dean Letendre: Oh, that's easy. That's one word answer: students. I have a saying Eric that I live by. If not for the students, why do we exist? When you're in academics, what is all of this? This building, the curriculum, whatever it is that we do. This isn't my college of pharmacy. This isn't the faculty’s college of pharmacy.

 

This college stands for one purpose and one purpose only, and that's to educate the future pharmacy [01:09:04] practitioners and scientists of tomorrow. If not for the students, why do we exist? Our PharmD students, our PhD students, we exist for them. And so for me, this wonderful journey that I've been on for 20 plus years as a Dean is all about our students. I love our students, and you know people ask me what gets me out of bed in the morning trying to do something again, try to do something yet again that will enrich the lives of the women and men who grace our halls.

 

Eric: That's a great answer, and I think the students would be appreciative to know that and know that your heart’s in the right place as far as why you're doing it. So I really appreciate you sharing that, really appreciate you being on the show, agreeing to be interviewed.

 

Dean Letendre: Eric. Excuse me, but in French, the expression is called the raison d'être. And raison d'être interpreted [01:10:04] means reason for being. So my raison d'être, as a Dean is students.

 

Eric: I love it. I think it just perfectly encapsulates you know what mentality you have to have if you're going to be in that position, be the position of the Dean. You know, you don't want to have someone who's motivated to do it for the monetary gains or for the recognition of the awards because their heart would not be in the right place as far as that purpose.

 

So yeah, I think the listeners will really appreciate that. Really can't thank you enough for being on here and agreeing to be interviewed. You're the second interview guest of The Eric Mueller Show. So if someday, this becomes really big, you know, maybe that'll be another accolade for you. But I've had a great time chatting with you. Really, really appreciate you being on here, and we'll look forward to connecting with you soon.

 

Dean Letendre: Alright, Eric and I want to wish you the very best in the days ahead. I think you have an extraordinarily bright, promising future ahead of you, and you're in a great academic background. A terrific [01:11:04] program and now an outstanding community residency program, which I know will help lay the foundation for a very, very bright and promising future so continued best wishes to you along your journey.

 

Eric: I appreciate it. Maybe someday after COVID’s over, we might be able to go grab a cup of coffee or something. Chat more.

 

Dean Letendre: Sounds great. I'd love it. We got a whole lot more to chitchat about, and I'll be anxious to know more about the journey you have planned for yourself.

 

And as my parting words to you, is don't try to force it. Let it come to you. You're a man of, you can tell. You got the twinkle in your eye. You got a lot of drive. Wonderful opportunities are going to come your way. The question is whether or not you'll avail yourself of those opportunities.

 

I'll leave you with this. My Dad again, these little sayings used to say I just, they stick in my memory like they're etched there. My Dad used to say that folks often times overlook opportunities. [01:12:04] And the reason they do is because they're dressed up in overalls and look like work. So he said always grab those opportunities, but just bear in mind that when you do, there’s probably going to be a lot of work that goes with them. Well, you're not afraid of work. I can tell that right now. Yeah, when those opportunities come your way, they'll be dressed up in overalls and look like work, but go for it, buddy.

 

Eric: Thank you so much, Don. Really appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your evening, and thank your wife for allowing us to have this time on a Tuesday night to do this. I really appreciate it.

 

Dean Letendre: Yeah, my pleasure Eric. And continued best wishes to you.

 

Eric: Sounds great, we’ll talk to you later.

 

Dean Letendre: Buh bye.

 

[EDM music fades-in, plays and then fades-out]

 

 

Voice audio: Written, produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller

EDM music: Produced and edited by Eric R. Mueller