Remembering Earl...


Dr. Earl Reum

"He changed the world, one kid at a time. In countless speeches and workshops over more than 50 years, Earl Reum persuaded millions of teenagers to dream big; some for an hour, many for a lifetime."

Time Magazine
December 20, 2010


A tribute to the "Master Wizard" of student leadership training!


Come back and visit this page often, as we continue to post tributes that speak to the legacy of Dr. Earl Reum from those students and adults whom he impacted over the years...

David Cherry, KSHSAA Assistant Executive Director (right) Earl was the featured consultant for forty-six years of KSHSAA Student Council Workshops. Kansans from 16 to 60 years of age knew, respected and loved Earl for his passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the youth of our state. His service to KSHSAA spanned the careers of Brice Durbin, Nelson Hartman, Keith Akins, Gary Musselman, Karen Ruder and myself as state directors of Student Council in Kansas. Earl was known, loved and appreciated for his work throughout the United States and internationally. Nowhere else in the nation has one person made such a lasting commitment to development of Student Council; the KSHSAA and students of Kansas lost a dear friend with the passing of Earl.

Earl Reum was a man who could touch a life forever just by knowing him for a short time. We had the pleasure of hosting a Regional Conference in 2009 where Earl was the keynote speaker.  I had a student who had the potential to be a great leader but who wasn’t quite showing it yet.  He spent much of the afternoon that day talking to Earl.  Later in the year I asked each student in our Student Government to write a paper stating reasons they wanted to be in Stugo, what we do well, what we can improve on and someone who had influenced them in their life. My newly elected Vice-President, Jack Martin, stated “I think my hero is Earl Reum because Earl talked to me for two hours and changed my life for the better and anyone who can do that should be everyone’s hero.”  I agree wholeheartedly - this is why I believe Earl’s legacy will live on for generations.
Karen Graham, Chanute (KS) High School

Sandy Ginger, Nevada Association of Student Councils Executive Director

2007 National Earl Reum Award

Earl has been part of the "single most significant learning experiences of my life". I first saw Earl at the Nevada State Conference when I was a junior in HS.  He narrated the film of a skier down the mountain side and that summer he led us on a "Lion Hunt" at the national conference. Having also worked with Earl as an advisor and State Director I was always motivated by his enthusiasm and commitment to leadership for both students and advisors. The first time he came to one of my workshops, I was so nervous to have the father of all things student council there, but his were the “friendly eyes” in the room and if I was ever unsure of myself, his encouraging nods and smiles made put me at ease. He always sat in the front row and participated in all the activities as if it was the first time he had learned them. Earl had the ability to make us all feel special and capable beyond our confidence. I hope we can all do the same for those we work with.

I first saw and met Earl speaking at a Pennsylvania student council conference in the mid 1970's. As were so many, I was immediately captivated by him. Over the years I am happy to say he became my friend, my mentor, and my role model. He remains the most remarkable person I have ever known, and I am one of the many fortunate folks who can say that.

Andy Costanzo, Interboro (PA) High School

When I think about the person who motivated me to be the best advisor and teacher that I could be...I immediately think of Earl.  The impact that he has made on my work with Student Council and leadership is something that I will never forget!

Paul Branagan, Massachusetts Association of Student Councils Executive Director

I was elected president of the student council at Shawnee Mission West in 1970. My high school sent the president to Camp Cheley each summer.  That's where I first met Earl.  Like so many other kids, I was captivated by his inspirational message and his warm persona.   I'll always remember that he told us, "You have something to say..."  For an 17 year old kid, these were heady words. His focus was leadership.  I wanted to be a leader and his lessons were the first I ever had on that subject.  Today, I am still working on being a better leader and I have Earl to thank for starting me on that path. [CLICK HERE to read much more...]

Mike Glish and Earl Reum, 2009

Genel Hodges and Earl Reum

It was my pleasure to know Earl Reum for almost 30 years.  For more than 20 of those years, I worked closely with him as part of the National Association of Workshop Directors.  I'm so lucky to have known him. He had a definite idea where he wanted the organization to go, and how he wanted us to get there. He always knew exactly what to say when I had concerns about the organization or any other subject. [CLICK HERE to read much more...]

Genel Hodges, National Association of Workshop Directors (NAWD) Executive Director

It has taken me a VERY long time to submit memories about Earl.  That is because I have wrestled with exactly what I wanted to say about such an incredible man. I cannot tell you the number of internal conversations I have had about this topic but, even after all this time, I will probably not be able to convey what I truly feel about Earl and Mary. I met Earl in the mid-1970’s (I think it was 1974) and I was hooked from the beginning. I remember returning to my job after spending a week with Earl and trying to describe the impact on my life which he left in just six days. I continued to see him at conferences, conventions, leadership training camps, etc. until his death in 2010. For 36 years he greeted me with that same warm smile; that little giggle; the excitement that was HE was seeing ME; questions about the loves of my life: my wife and son; an assessment to insure that I was doing OK; and, if I was REALLY lucky, Mary was at his side. I learned SO much from this man and his “sidekick” that positively influenced my life and the lives of the students with whom I worked. I am very thankful our paths have crossed and, hopefully, will cross again.

Harry Bettencourt, Fremont Union (CA) High School District (Retired)

Harry and his wife Paula

If you have a tribute to Earl that you would like posted in this section of our website, please e-mail Lou Miller at with the following:

  • Text of the tribute
  • A photo of yourself to accompany the tribute. If you have a photo of yourself with Earl, that's even better!