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Let me start with an interesting fact. Did you know that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and put it on the stove, the temperature of the water increases slowly enough so that the frog never even knows he is being boiled? Now before Steve pummels me for speaking negatively about a frog, let me explain what I mean. 

Anyone who knows Steve Grande knows about his unusual preoccupation with this amphibian. Confused Freshman coming to JMU for the first time are confronted by FROG's - or freshman orientation guides. I am not certain why Steve enjoys this green, slimy, and ribbitting creature but the boiling frog is a terrific analogy for Steve's effect on people here at James Madison University. 

Steve, like the imperceptibly increasing temperature of water coming to boil, overtime affects people without them even knowing it. His disarmingly modest manner allows him to get inside of you before you even realize what he has helped you become. Luckily, the end result is not that you've been boiled. Just changed and enlightened. 

So what's his purpose? Why does he do what he does? According to Steve, he strives on a daily basis to create the magic that will allow people to live authentically by helping them discover who they truly are. To describe just how profoundly terrific Steve is, let's continue with our frog theme and spell out the word "frog" as we honor Steve Grande here today.

Steve is one of the more selfless people I've ever met. It's this trait that helps him be so effective at inspiring people to find direction and answers to their questions. He truly is outside himself and he leads by this example. Another student said to me, "Steve made me want to give back to JMU community just as he does everyday of his life."

"R" is for REACHES OUT 
Steve is one those faces that most students, faculty, and staff recognize. He is everywhere it seems. But his reaching out goes so much deeper than his presence - his quirky sense of humor, his kind heart, and the fact that he is not afraid to open himself up to encourage students to be comfortable - is how he reaches out. 

Steve strives to go out and meet the community in any possible way that he can. The connections he makes with students, faculty, and staff drive his desire to make a difference. His quiet, leadership abilities have had a profound effect in many of the people that are sitting here today. 
What makes these moments so magical is that at the end, these people may not even know or recognize the influence Steve has made on someone because his sly, hidden influence has crept up upon you once again. You aren't even aware until success has been achieved.

"O" is for ONE
All Together One is hard to describe, but I believe Steve really pinned it down when I asked him to describe his concept of the future of this community. He responded, "What makes our community unique is our ability to desire the oneness that we strive for but using our differences as the binding force to connect us all to our common goal". Our identity is formed from a variety of differences, which Steve feels is a symbol of strength. 

This sense of togetherness makes Steve realize that this is the place for him.

"G" is for GENUINE 
This year, we in Omicron Delta Kappa received an astounding number of nominations for the all together one recognition. And with each one was a description of the person nominated. It is amazing that so many wonderful people could be in one place. But the nominations that came in for Steve - and there were many - all noted that Steve is genuine. There are few others on this campus who match his modesty and honest desire to motivate people into taking action and getting involved. 

From the sparkling glare in his eyes and passionate intonation in his voice, I could tell from my interview with Steve that he genuinely wants to improve the quality of student's lives, not only as students but also as human beings.
That spells "FROG" and that’s Steve Grande. 

When asked what drives him to do what he does everyday he responds with a feeling of obligation. He states, "It is my responsibility to help people and if that is not achieved, then I have failed. What I have realized is that is not just about thinking, it's about taking action that makes the difference".
Standing here today, we share in his gratitude because we have all been rewarded as well. Steve gives selflessly to this University and has made such an unbelievable impact on old and new students alike, both directly and indirectly. Steve's ability to build and enhance the JMU community by empowering others to find their uniqueness and promote a spirit of belonging are the reasons we stand here today to recognize him for ALL TOGETHER ONE.

The JMU community thanks Steve Grande.

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