FEBRUARY 16, 2005

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Mission accomplished: OSU-Tulsa VP plants OSU flag atop Kilimanjaro

Dr. Raja Basu, OSU-Tulsa vice president for academic affairs, holds an OSU flag on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

There is only so much you can fit into a backpack for a strenuous climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. That didn’t stop Dr. Raja Basu, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa vice president for academic affairs, from adding an OSU flag to his list of necessities.

Spending his holiday break doing something many people only dream about, Basu trekked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and kept a promise he’d made to OSU President and System CEO David Schmidly.

Basu said that when Schmidly learned of his planned Dec.19 trip, he encouraged the climber to take an OSU flag and plant it atop the mountain. Basu couldn’t resist the challenge.

“When President Schmidly suggested planting the OSU flag at the top, I joked that I didn’t think they‘d let me leave it there,” Basu said with a laugh.

Rising 19,340 feet above the African plain, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most massive extinct volcanoes in the world. Basu, who is an avid runner, began intensely training for the climb in September.

With a desire to try something challenging and different, Basu planned the solo trip to celebrate his upcoming 40th birthday. The 5 ½ day trek to the summit was Basu’s first experience mountain climbing and camping.

“I wanted to pick something I’ve never done before and just go for it,” Basu said. “It was a time to be alone and accomplish a goal. It was quite a selfish venture, but luckily I have a very supportive wife.”

After conquering the mountain, Basu said he came away with a valuable lesson that could benefit students in his classes. A researcher and professor in the areas of leadership, team building and change management, Basu said he’ll use this experience as an example of working toward a goal, whether it’s completing a graduate degree or landing a rewarding job following graduation.

“This trip taught me that to accomplish any kind of success, you have to set goals,” Basu said. “I never thought about what it would be like once I was at the top or the end satisfaction of finishing. I only concentrated on the steps it would take to get there.”