A lady in a faded gingham dress, and her husband, dressed in overalls walked timidly into Harvard University President’s Office and requested to talk with the president.
The administrative assistant took one look at them and concluded that these two backwoods individuals were country hicks who would be a waste of the president’s time. She decided to discourage them and say that the president’s schedule was full all day.
“We’ll wait,” the lady said. And for hours they sat there waiting. Finally, the frustrated assistant worked them into the president’s schedule, hoping he could get rid of them in a few minutes.
Once in his office, the lady said in a quiet voice, “Sir, we had a son who attended Harvard for one year but was killed in an accident. He loved Harvard and we would like to erect a memorial to him on campus.”
The president was shocked but not touched. He said, “We simply can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. Our campus would look like a cemetery.”
“But, sir,” the lady said, “We don’t want a statue, we want to donate moneyfor a building with his name on it.”
The president looked at the plain country-looking couple, her faded gingham dress and his washed overalls, rolled his eyes, and said, “I don’t think you have any idea what that would cost. Why we just spent millions of dollars on one building.” He hoped a dose of reality would get rid of them.
The lady turned to her husand and said, “Is that all it costs? Well, why don’t we just build our own university.”
They promptly got up and left and moved to Palo Alto, California. They entered a bank there and talked with the president. At first he thought they were simply grieving for their son and came up with this dream without realizing the costs involved. But he listened to them carefully, discovered that they were financially sound, and decided to work with them.
Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford fulfilled their dream and established Stanford University, which bears their name and serves as a memorial to their son.
Yes, you can judge a book by its cover if you take the time to study it and find out what it’s about. And, yes, you can fulfill your dreams if you don’t give up and you don’t let others talk you out of it.