University of Southern Indiana

From the Desk of Dr. Matthew Hanka

Dr. Matthew Hanka

I am a lifelong learner. I have a zeal for knowledge and understanding of ideas both big and small. I believe no stone should go unturned. I believe in the power of institutions and organizations that use it and their influence to make a difference in this world. I believe in the academy, its ability to seek truth, produce knowledge and ideas, and share its knowledge and ideas with others as the foundation for shaping people, inspiring them to reach their highest potential and achieve extraordinary things.

I believe in friendship and community, and how we can embrace people’s differences and cultures. Community is in my bones and in my DNA. I believe in promoting peace and global understanding, and building goodwill and better friendships in my neighborhood, community, city and world. I believe in unity through diversity.

I believe in the importance of place and placemaking. I believe in the value and historical character of the neighborhoods in which we live. Living in an old house and preserving and protecting our old neighborhoods are vehicles to renewing, restoring and revitalizing communities. I believe in creating livable and sustainable neighborhoods, communities, cities and a world for us and for our future generations.

I believe in a global village. I believe in the United Nations, including its core mission of peace, collective security and human rights. I believe in promoting awareness and educating my community about the world around us, good and bad.

I believe in serving our most invisible, vulnerable and marginalized populations, including those who don’t have a place to call home or a place to sleep at night. I believe housing is a right, a human right and not a privilege to be earned, and I believe in working tirelessly to ensure that no one is deprived of this fundamental human right. 

I believe in the Rotary motto of service above self, and I believe in making a difference in this world­­­—no matter how large or small. How we serve others is the best measure of a person. What we do for others is more important than who we are, why we are, where we are or how we are. It doesn’t matter what a person’s label, identity, class, race, gender, religion, political affiliation or socio-economic status is; what matters is what we are doing to serve others. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

I believe in leading by example. I believe in doing what is right, even if it’s unpopular. I believe in fairness, justice and equality for everyone. I don’t believe in doing anything at the expense of others, using people as means to my end or only valuing people insofar as they are useful to me. I believe in doing things that benefit everyone. The world is big enough for anyone to make a mark without trampling over another to get to that goal. I believe in doing things for others just because. 

I believe in leaving things better than when I arrived. I believe in the power of legacy and the impact one’s actions have on others. I believe that what I do, good or bad, can reflect on others.

I believe in the old Greek proverb that I may one day plant a tree in hope someday others will have an opportunity to enjoy its shade and reap the fruits of my labor. This is what I believe. 

Dr. Hanka is an associate professor of political science

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