Our lives are sustained and enriched by trusting relationships with individuals, groups, and institutions. A word of thanks is due to those whose trust, care, encouragement, and support have created the emotional and intellectual support for me to undertake this labor of love.
Most acknowledgments end with one's family. I begin there. My dear wife, Sara Campbell Abdo, and our children, David and Maryanna, have trusted me, loved me, encouraged me, and helped me. They have graced me with sustaining patience and motivating impatience. Sara, particularly, has taken a direct hand in preparing citations, editorial suggestions, and proofing, saving me a great deal of time and making this a better work.
I must thank my dissertation committee, Professors John Orr, Donald Miller, and Stephen Toulmin, whom I count as friends and colleagues. We have shared ideas. We have discussed and debated. I have trusted them, and they have trusted me. My mind and spirit have been enriched by the regular engagement with them. To them I would add other faculty colleagues in the University of Southern California School of Religion, the graduate students in the department, dozens of other faculty friends at USC, and my longtime friends and associates in the University's administration. They have regularly expressed interest in my work and persistently encouraged me. I want to express special appreciation to Warren Bennis, Alan Kreditor, and my dear friends Bob Biller and Al Rudisill. All four have been important teachers outside my committee, commenting on my ideas and providing the most encouraging personal support for the completion of the dissertation.
I want to thank Steven B. Sample, President of the University of Southern California, who motivated me to start me on this road. He has regularly inquired about my progress and has added importantly to some of the ideas in this dissertation. He contributed both motivation and helpful reflections. I must also acknowledge the enormous debt in life that I owe to the late President James H. Zumberge who plucked me out of the middle level of the USC administration in 1980 and changed my life, inviting me to serve as his executive assistant and executive secretary for the USC board of trustees. My eleven years with Jim Zumberge and three additional years in the same roles with Steve Sample taught me much of what I know about the calling to responsible trusteeship and the practice of the presidency. I have also been taught by a host of USC trustees and especially by four successive leaders of the USC board: Carl Hartnack, George Scharffenberger, Forrest Shumway, and Malcolm Currie, through whom I learned to recognize skill, strength, and wisdom in board leadership.
I have learned from my fellow trustees on the boards of San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Chandler School in Pasadena. The call to stewardship for these institutions moved, and moves me, daily to reflection on the role and profound responsibilities of a trustee.
All of these people rejoice with me in the completion of this work, and I rejoice with them and thank them for the countless ways in which our lives have been mutually enriched throughout these years.