If you would to view this file as a PDF click here.

1 1 

As Pace University marches toward its centennial, Homer and Charles Pace, co-founders of Pace Institute, seem as remote as the Wright Brothers who, incidentally, were their contemporaries. Indeed, it was in 1906, only three years after Wilbur and Orville lifted off from Kitty Hawk, that the Pace Brothers established their innovative school to train men and woman for professional careers in accountancy. The new century, so full of promise, had just begun. The country had a dynamic young President, Theodore Roosevelt, whose children enlivened the White House and delighted the press and public almost as much as their father. But while the Roosevelt children were assured a rosy future, other American youngsters of their generation could but aspire to some measure of success. The Pace brothers, with intelligence, diligence, and the ability to recognize and seize opportunities, were able to ascend the socio-economic ladder.

Like the students attending Pace University 90 years after the Pace brothers opened their proprietary business institute, Homer and Charles were ambitious, hard working and totally committed to the notion that the individual was the principal architect of his or her own success. Homer worked unceasingly to enhance his accounting venture by offering the two-year Pace Standardized Course in Accounting at facilities nationwide. He also nurtured his students.

Throughout the 1920s, Homer Pace hosted huge freshman/faculty dinners. At the 1925 gathering, held at Brooklyn's Hotel St. George, 560 of the 800 students enrolled in Pace Institute's 16 freshman classes listened as the President of the institute exhorted his audience. Countless others tuned into radio station WMCA to acquire and develop the power to visualize achievement by listening to Homer Pace. Sounding very New Age Homer declared:

If Lincoln had not visualized himself as a practicing attorney, debating with the Douglases of the future, he would not have been sustained in the lonely hours of study that necessarily preceded his work as a lawyer. Edison visualized the incandescent electric lamp long before it illuminated our homes and streets.
Encouraging the Institute's freshmen to persevere Homer reminded them:
No other wall or obstacle is as great as the one you build in your own mind. Your mere conviction that you can't do a thing, inhibits your effort and, therefore, the possibility of your accomplishment. If an eight-foot ditch confronts a person, and he is thoroughly convinced in his own mind that he can't jump across it, he will not try.

Overcoming obstacles was a recurring theme in Homer Pace's speeches and articles. A 1926 piece for The Pace Student , a magazine which was largely written as well as edited by Homer, addressed the very real fear of public speaking that plagued many people. Entitled "Speak in Public and Have a Good Time," the article urged readers to advance their careers by becoming good communicators. "If a man expresses himself before a business meeting in a convincing and interesting way on a subject at issue," Homer declared, "he immediately commands respect and attention. The effective communicator, "Homer pointed out, "soon becomes favorably known and is in demand for executive and other positions that require, among other things the ability to speak in public and to exercise other qualities of leadership."

Concerned about the development of the total person, Homer made a point, in practically every issue of The Pace Student to balance very practical how-to articles on subjects ranging from "The Theater: Its Organization and Accounting" and "Accounting Procedures in Modern Hotels" with such self-improvement pieces as "Make the Resolutions," "If You Don't Like It, Do It!," "Master Your Moods" and "Success Through Service." A similar mixture was evident in The American Accountant, which, in 1927 replaced The Pace Student. Directed toward accounting professionals, the magazine contained articles on all aspects of accounting and domestic and international business plus a delightful editor's page featuring examples of Homer's wit and wisdom. In the September 1927 issue Homer reminded us:

The hard-driven accountant or business man may profitably bring a little more good nature into his daily tasks. Friendly, helpful words, given or received, ease off the tension, while anger and caustic comments do the contrary. The majority of the big men in the professions and in business know to relax - they do not take themselves too seriously.

Humor and innate optimism enabled Homer to survive life's crises including the serious illness of his wife early in their marriage and the very real threat to the Institute's survival posed by the Great Depression. During the latter crisis, which was resolved when he signed over his life insurance and advanced generous loans to students, Homer may have heeded the advice he had once given undergraduates in The Pace Student article entitled "Don't Knock."

Don't knock, boost...Don't knock your town or your city, boost it. It's not the worst place in the world...Don't knock your concern, boost it...Don't knock yourself. If you say you're a failure, feel sorry for yourself, and wish you were dead...other folks pay no attention to you, and the wheels of progress will crush you underfoot. Boost yourself, not egotisically, but self respectingly; don't let your chin and chest sag - hold them up. Knock as a habit, and you will become cynical, pessimistic, and unhappy. Boost as a habit and you will become mellow, optimistic and happy, your friends' best friend and your own as well.

New Age? No, just vintage Homer. As the University approaches both the new millennium and its own centennial, there is much to be gained by heeding the advice of this very wise and good gentleman who, with his brother, changed the nature of professional education in the United States.


Edward J. Mortola
Homer Pace
Wit & Wisdom
Pace Ny