I dedicate this dissertation to the three angels in my life
who have guided me to a place I never envisioned.
To the angel by my side––my wife, Mary Ellen: You have been my biggest supporter and advocate. You are my rock and my inspiration. You drive me to always achieve my goals. You put your life on hold when I needed “time for schoolwork” at night, on weekends, and even on vacations. I love you. I will spend the rest of my days grateful for all that you have done for me.
To the angel on her way––Charlotte (Charlie):
Everything that I do is for you and Mommy. While you have yet to arrive, I am wrapped around your finger even now. I am here for you, now and always. When you are happy, sad, scared or just want to talk to “Daddy,” I will never be far away. I will hear you calling me and I will always come to you.
To the angel above me––Mom (Charlie’s Angel)
Not a day goes by that I do not think about you. When I was down, you picked me up. When I was headed down the wrong path, you set me straight. When I was alone, you were with me. I hope I made you proud.
This dissertation is also dedicated to my Dad.
Dad, I have never heard you ask anybody for anything, yet you have always been the first person to provide for others. You are the hardest working person I know, and you taught me to never lose sight of the work ethic that is part of who we are as a family. When I finished graduate school, I wrote about your white guitar and your devotion to the band, Rush. I am finishing school again, and cannot help but be reminded of the song, “Working Man.” I am proud to be your son.
It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am
I guess that’s why they call me
They call me the working man.