In the summer of 1971, I was getting ready to start my freshman year of college. My father had driven me to the place that would be my home for the next several years. After we carried a few items from his green Ford pickup truck to my dormatory room, we walked over to the campus book store. I saw a wooden plaque of The Uncommon Man, and I showed it to my father as I went to purchase the only bit of decoration that would adorn the painted concrete block walls of my room. He asked if he could buy it for me. That meant a lot to both of us, and I hope it has a similar meaning to you as well.


I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon if I can.

I seek opportunity – not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled, dulled,
by having the State look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk;
to dream and to build;
to fail or succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive to a dole.

I prefer the challenges of life
to the guaranteed existence;
the thrill of fulfillment to the calm state of Utopia.

I will not trade freedom for benefiance
nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master
nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage
to stand erect, proud and unafraid;
to think and act for myself;
to enjoy the benefits of my creation,
and to face the world boldly and say –
This I have done!

Attributed to Dean Alfange
The Honorable Dean Alfange was an American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and attended Hamilton College, graduating in the class of 1922.