Jeff Glueck, CEO of Foursquare and 2019 Alumnus of the Year, spoke to the students, faculty, staff, and several guests at a special assembly on Tuesday, March 12. The assembly began with a video that showed the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, a marketing mascot created by Mr. Glueck, with Harbor Day students in a variety of familiar scenarios, such as reading in the library and getting hot lunch. Mr. Glueck then shared with the audience lessons learned during his years at HDS that had a profound impact on him. He shared with the audience his love of history and how he was an avid reader of history books. Mr. Glueck said he was confident he would receive the history award at graduation but they gave the award to another student. Surprised and confused, Mr. Glueck asked his teacher why he didn’t win. His teacher responded, “You know, you never once did the extra credit.” This moment completely changed his perspective. “It wasn’t about getting an A on a test,” Mr. Glueck said, “it was about pushing yourself to be the best person you could be. It wasn’t about the grade, it was about what I could learn.” One of his favorite memories at Harbor Day was the time he scored a winning touchdown on a play he drew up for his Gold Team—one of several hundred plays he prepared for his teammates. From this experience, he realized that through teamwork and cooperation, his team could come from behind and win.
Throughout his talk, Mr. Glueck emphasized the importance of ethics and self-motivation to the students. He distilled two important lessons he learned at Harbor Day—to have empathy for others and always do extra credit work. Mr. Glueck encouraged the students to take care of each other and be kind to those who may struggle socially. By emphasizing the goal of performing as much extra credit as possible, he challenged the students to always do their best at all stages. Because of their hard work, doors will open to them throughout their lives. But most of all, he encouraged the students to cherish their families; to realize the value it brings to their lives by knowing their family members deeply and always remembering where they came from.
Mr. Glueck took that path less traveled. He worked on promoting economic development in Latin America and on seeking peace in the Middle East through economic cooperation. Then, he served as a White House Fellow, working on policies to combat climate change. Finally, he followed his passion for coding and technology, which led him to build companies like Site59 and Foursquare. Mr. Glueck is a true example of how strength, character, and following your passions can lead to a rewarding and accomplished life.