COLUMBUS, Neb. – Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told students at Scotus Central Catholic that his time at the school grounded and defined him for his future endeavors.
“It allowed me to do some of things that I had the privilege in my life and my career to do and I want to encourage that and acknowledge that and help Scotus continue that great tradition,” says Hagel.
Hagel, who served as head of the Defense Department under President Obama and also was a US Senator for Nebraska for 12 years, spent the day in Columbus on Friday, mainly at his alma mater, where he graduated from 52 years ago.
A formal dinner is planned for Friday night, but the youngsters got an extended audience with the long-time Washington insider in the afternoon.
Hagel told the students that “everybody needs a purpose” in life and that they also need to carry with them three indispensable traits: character, courage and judgement.
He thinks SCC pushes students to embrace those traits.
“I think they foster an environment that is far more than just your basic education,” says Hagel.
“Of getting outside yourself, of serving others, making a contribution beyond your own self-interest.
Hagel told News Channel Nebraska that he spent other parts of the day catching up with old high school buddies from St. Bonaventure’s, which was the name of the school before Scotus.
The Vietnam veteran also had the chance speak with members at the Columbus VFW.
He finished off his speech by urging students to keep pushing to find their future opportunities. He then took questions from students about President Obama and his favorite current US senators.