I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Tutor-Mentor Program reflection hosted recently by Hana. Roughly 30 students gathered in Murray-Herrick Campus Center to learn more about Alan Page and the Page Education Foundation. Other than Alan’s history in the National Football League and serving as a  Minnesota Supreme Court justice, I knew very little.

We were warned that Alan would be fashionably late and that he was. While we waited for Alan, students were led into conversation about leadership. Students shared their ideas of leadership and followed with a short story of someone they admire. Many thought leaders to be someone they aspire to be, such as a teacher or a boss.

Alan Page

A married, elderly couple sitting in the front of the room grabbed everyone’s attention when they spoke of leadership. They couple encouraged us to respect everyone we encounter, explaining we have something to learn from everyone. The wife described the idea as a ripple effect – we bounce our ideas and knowledge from one person to another.

As Alan arrived, I saw what was meant by Alan being described as fashionably late. Alan’s presence in the room was realized immediately as your eyes are drawn to his height and a bright yellow bowtie. Known as the fashion-forward founder of the Page Education Foundation, a bowtie is the theme of the foundation’s 24th Annual Benefit Gala.

Growing from 10 to 540 scholars in 24 years, the foundation has been highly successful. Keeping support within the metro area and Minnesota ensures that the foundation will continue doing what it does well by not growing too large. The organization is staffed by only four people; Alan keeps its budget tight and focused on students.

Alan believes a young person’s lifelong success begins with an education. The foundation was created to reach students, especially students of color who face challenges in completing post-secondary education; but, Alan sought out something greater than money. In return for financial assistance, Page Scholars must actively foster literacy and learning through 50 hours of mentoring children of color. We are happy to say that many St. Thomas Page Scholars complete their 50 hours of service through CILCEs very own Tutor-Mentor Program.

I was honored to have had the opportunity to meet Alan and listen to the story of his transition from football star to a Minnesota leader. Alan spoke humbly of all his accomplishments – he “doesn’t need another pat on the back.”

CILCE is proud to be interconnected with the Page Education Foundation by sharing a common goal of supporting intercultural learning.