Some We’ve Worked With
• AAA Baseball
• Al-jon/Vezzani Corp.,
• Bandag Manufacturing
• Brand Central Station
• Burlington (IA) Chamber
     of Commerce,
• Chiropractic Centennial
• Dahl Ford
• Deere & Co.
• Dubuque (IA)
• First Midwest Banks
• Galesburg (IL) Chamber
     of Commerce
• Galesburg Economic  
     Development Corp.
• Illinois Association of
     Public Health
• Iowa Development
• Kartridg Pak
• Life University
• MidCoast
• Mod-Form Manufacturing
• MPA Media
• National Seal Co.
• Palmer Chiropractic
     University System
• Quad-City Thunder
• Quad-City Times
• Quad-Cities Vision
     for the Future
• Sears Manufacturing
• The Marketing Advantage
• The Residential Specialist
• Today’s Chiropractic
• WDG Communications
• White Dog Studios




Note: This is an example of ghost writing, which I’ve done a lot of. This particular piece is the story of Life University’s return from the grave.

Life’s Rise from the Ashes is a Lesson
for Our Profession

 By Guy F. Riekeman, D.C.
President, Life University

The administration here at Life University has been working so hard for so many months, noses to the grindstone and shoulders to the wheel, as people say, that we’ve barely looked up long enough to reflect on the magnitude of what has been accomplished in raising $4.85 million and recapturing Life’s regional accreditation. But a visitor recently reminded us…

“Life University is the phoenix rising from the ashes. You’ve been reborn. It’s a New Life.”

That caused us to look up information about the fabled phoenix. Some writers describe it as a purely mythical bird, but others note that the Roman writer Pliny saw one exhibited in the Roman Forum during the reign of Emperor Claudius, and Clemont reported another in the first century. Whether real or not, this reportedly graceful bird with brilliant plumage became legendary, symbolizing immortality in Egypt, Greece, Arabia, China and elsewhere. It even appeared in medieval Christian writings as a symbol of death and resurrection.

The legends’ common theme is that every 500 years, when the phoenix knew its end was near, it would build a nest, all the while singing a mournful dirge. When the nest was completed, the phoenix would furiously flap its wings, setting the nest on fire, and then slowly be consumed in the flames. A few days later a serene new phoenix would rise from the ashes and take flight, pausing to land only on the greatest of treasures. The flight of the phoenix was said to represent the ability to leave the world’s problems behind, flying toward the sun.

Yes, in its own modest way, Life University is like the phoenix. According to “probabilities science,” Life should have died on the funeral pyre of suspended accreditation. Instead, this bird of bright plumage is back in business, with a growing enrollment and increasing financial stability. Those of you who supported us with dollars and encouragement proved to be not victims of probabilities but champions of possibilities. We have a ways to go—and we still urgently need your support—but you can be assured that faculty, staff and administration are fully considering the possibilities and working together tirelessly to realize the best of them in the “new Life” University.

In some ways, it’s not new at all, only reborn.

Life University was founded as a chiropractic college based on vitalistic principles, and its phenomenal growth can be attributed not only to good business moves and a great market area but also to the fact that the school’s chiropractic philosophy resonated with students looking for a coherent view of health and life. The new Life holds to those same values. In fact the historic value of education for “a lasting purpose” is congruent with the current strategic plan to provide not just technical education but a vision for personal and professional life.

We will stay in touch with our treasures.

What we are adding to the Life legacy is a commitment to high performance as an educational institution. We are determined to ratchet up the rigor of our clinical and classroom programs, and more than that, to implement leading-edge pedagogy so that our students are better prepared to succeed in today’s highly competitive and dramatically changing world.

Obsolete ways of business and education will be only ashes.

Why does a business or a university lose its way, end up bemoaning its plight, flapping its wings in rage and setting itself on fire? Well, one way that happens is when the institution looks only inwardly, when it’s more concerned about feeding itself than serving its stakeholders. Businesses lose track of what customers are demanding or perhaps fail to heed the warnings of regulators. Colleges that don’t reinvent themselves periodically lose touch with what students need. The new Life is focused on recognizing such legitimate external demands and shaping its educational experience to meet them. The new Life acknowledges its debt to the past but will not rest on those laurels. We will continue to reinvent ourselves. 

And why should anybody in chiropractic beyond Life students and alumni care about this? Because the Life experience serves up a lesson for the chiropractic profession.

After 100-plus years our profession continues to spend too much time gazing at our own navels, paying scant attention to changes in society and opportunities in the health care system, clinging to old models in the new day, flapping our wings madly in sectarian strife, doing our best to burn our future. Without clarity of vision, the profession may destroy itself and not come back. Rather than a phoenix reborn we could end up a dead duck.

But the good news of the Life lesson is that people of vision can come together to accomplish renewal and progress. Hundreds of donors, some with big bucks and many with only the widow’s mite, joined hands to drag Life University back from the brink of death. Why did they do this? As one non-alum but fervent Life supporter put it, “Our profession desperately needs a ‘leadership college,’ one that will remain true to our chiropractic philosophy and yet adapt itself to increased scientific knowledge and changing times.”

Which institution proves to be that leadership college remains to be seen, but this much you can count on. It will be one that seeks to unite rather than divide, one that its alumni can rally around, one that sustains balance in the philosophy, science and art, one committed to innovation rather than worship of the past. It must extricate itself from the parochialism, politics and power plays of the madding crowd.    

It’s time for the chiropractic profession to reinvent itself. The process will start with honest self-analysis and end with a clear view of what chiropractic education and practice must become both to maintain our professional identity and to find our rightful place in the emerging mainstream health care system. Life University is willing to help lead that dialogue. After all, we’re something of an expert in the reinvention business.

If our profession really wants to, we can turn our backs to the past and our faces to the future. Lessons learned, old animosities behind us, with a renewed spirit of integrity and self-sacrifice, we can join together first to envision and then to create new life for the chiropractic profession.

We can soar to new heights, flying toward the sun.





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