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US Air Force General Lloyd Newton offered "four P's plus one" as guidelines for success in life in the inaugural Robert Robinson Taylor Lecture at the Faculty Club on March 2.
General Newton, who achieved his childhood dream of becoming an elite Thunderbird pilot and now is chief of Air Education and Training at Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio, TX, gave the following pieces of advice to about 50 MIT students who attended the talk:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Plan purposefully -- determine your goal and design a plan to achieve it.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Prepare prayerfully -- preparation is essential; however, you must start with a prayer.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Proceed positively -- a positive attitude and enthusiasm can propel you up the ladder of success.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Pursue persistently -- you must be persistent and pursue your goal as if everything depended upon it.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Play to win."
General Newton, a graduate of Tennessee State University, noted that minority students should not expect to receive "the benefit of the doubt" in the workplace and therefore have to "distinguish yourselves by working twice as hard as your peers." He also stressed the importance of developing communications skills.
Also participating in the program were Professor Sheila Widnall of aeronautics and astronautics; Eto Otitigbe, a junior in mechanical engineering and co-chair of Chocolate City; and Fabio Brunet, a senior in mechanical engineering and president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. While Secretary of the Air Force last year, Professor Widnall promoted Lieutenant General Newton to the rank of general.
Robert Robinson Taylor, Class of 1892, was the first African American student to attend MIT. Upon graduation, he taught architecture at the Tuskegee Institute and designed more than 20 buildings on its campus. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Mu and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities, the Society of Arts in Boston, the American Economic Society and the Business League of Tuskegee.
The Taylor Lectures are sponsored by the Office of Minority Education. The next lecture will be on Monday, April 6. The programs, which include a light dinner, are free and open to the MIT community. A question-and-answer session follows each talk.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 11, 1998.