A special email from a special young man

To All the Great People at The Hundred Year Association:

I’m writing to thank you all so much for considering me worthy of receiving a scholarship the past three years, and especially to thank you for naming me Keyspan’s Charles E. Inniss College Scholar this year. You can’t even begin to imagine how shocked and humbled I was when I sat down in my seat at the awards ceremony, opened up my program, and saw my name listed with that award. It’s not the money that is the meaningful part of the award–though, with four years at NYU behind me and three years of law school at Harvard ahead, it certainly doesn’t hurt–but rather the realization that there are people out there who were able to look at me objectively and say, “Here is someone we want to help succeed. Here is someone who seems as though he will be able to do something great for the world.”

And doing something great is what I have always been about. There are times when, as a student at such a huge university and with such a commitment to helping people and improving the world, one can feel alienated, feel as though he is fighting a trivial and ultimately meaningless battle. There are times when I have felt the financial strain to be too much, and thought that the playing field was indeed unequal, that a middle class kid from a civil servant’s household on Long Island would ultimately and unavoidably hit a ceiling through which he could never break.

You have helped show me that that is certainly not the case. Your awards have helped ease the financial burden of a private university over the past three years, but it’s more than that; I will always be eternally grateful for the invitation to the Richard A. Cook Gold Medal Dinner that you extended to me back in the fall. As someone who had spent a summer on the catering end of such events, the opportunity to actually attend that function, and to interact with the others in attendance, is a memory I will have forever, and the confidence I received from that will hopefully prove to be a building block towards constructing a future that will change the world. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll be receiving an award at that dinner…

So I’ll end this now, as my simple thank you has gotten unwieldy in its length, by asking that you keep me informed on the happenings at The Hundred Year Association, and if I can ever be of any help in the future, just let me know, as I can never even begin to repay the debt I owe to you. Thank you so much once again, and best of luck to all of you.


Michael Arthus