SumTotal Blog

A Presidential Salute to Learning

The United States has elected many great men to lead our country over the years. Monday’s holiday was time to honor America’s past presidents (and also to take advantage of spectacular mattress sales across the country!) At SumTotal, we spent some time mulling over an important value we have in common with the United States’ former leaders; learning is the foundation to achieving goals. A learned mind is crucial to success and growth – for a nation or a business.


John F. Kennedy, one of the most beloved presidents in recent history, captured the importance of learning in only a few words when he penned the above quote in a proclamation for American Education Week. To achieve their objectives and secure a competitive advantage, organizations ought to embrace JFK’s philosophy and deliver training and development to their workforce to maximize each employee’s productivity and job satisfaction.

Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.
– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President

A completely self-educated man, Abraham Lincoln understood the importance of learning despite not attending school. He was known as an avid reader and will forever be remembered as a moving orator. Although people didn’t have nifty HR technology for just-in-time training in the 1800’s, Lincoln knew that knowledge was one of the most powerful tools a person could acquire.

A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. – Abraham Lincoln

Bonus: Though President’s Day does not officially acknowledge the great women who stood by America’s presidents, we have to give a shout out to the first ladies, who expounded the importance of learning just as much as their male counterparts.

Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.  – Abigail Adams, First Lady of the United States

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