Elusive Excellence – Our Fearless Leader

Third in our series Elusive Excellence investigating the meaning behind our motto “Excellence is our Tradition”

Excellence can be obtained if you:

…care more than others think is wise;

…risk more than others think is safe;

…dream more than others think is practical;

…expect more than others think is possible.

I ran into this quote several times when researching excellence. The author appears to be unknown, if you know differently please let me know! Each time I came back to this quote I thought of Equestrian Program Director Peggy McElveen. She is the definition of this quote!

Equestrian Program Director Peggy McElveen
Our Fearless Leader Peggy McElveen

…care more than others think is wise;

Peggy cares about everyone, she is a person of action. If a student, employee or colleague has a problem Peggy is the first person to step up and help out. She somehow knows what the person needs whether it be someone to drive them somewhere, make them food, counseling, loving advice or simply space to work through things. She supports everyone, it may not be exactly what you expected but it is always what you need! Peggy cares and it shows!

…risk more than others think is safe;

Peggy is a visionary. Visionaries boldly risk making waves with superiors or employees, suggest changes and happily endure the immediate negative human reaction to change, propose plans and ideas that require a significant commitment of resources and cheerfully problem solve objections to their plans. Peggy has proposed many ideas at St. Andrews. Many have not been adopted but the ones that have continue to improve the equestrian program and St. Andrews University.

…dream more than others think is practical;

Peggy’s motto is “big dreams don’t cost any more than little dreams”. When the idea of St. Andrews hosting the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championships in 2012 was first floated around 2010, Peggy quietly accepted the challenge and then started planning. Even with a world-class equestrian facility Laurinburg is not a town that can accommodate the number of competitors, vendors, spectators and horses needed for this week long horse show. Undaunted Peggy convinced the St. Andrews Administration to adjust the academic calendar so that the show did not conflict with graduation which it almost always does. She made the drive to Raleigh numerous times, contracted with the Hunt Complex at the NC State Fairgrounds, worked with area hotels and caters, and rallied her staff and the student body to support this iconic horse show. Outcome: a fabulous experience for students, staff, all of IHSA and certainly for St. Andrews.

…expect more than others think is possible.

The stories above illustrate this point. For her dedication to IHSA Peggy was awarded the Pioneer award in 2012 which is not awarded every year but only when it is truly deserved. I wrote a piece for the IHSA program as a tribute to the person we call our “Fearless Leader” and posted it on our old blog. A quote from this piece from a member of the St. Andrews faculty stands out,. “She holds herself, her staff, and students to the highest levels of excellence.”

Excellence is Our Tradition – starting with our Fearless Leader!

Click here to review the post on the Pioneer Award.

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