Living Lasting Purpose

Most universities have stated principles and values, but there is something special about LIFE’s Lasting Purpose. This pillar is actually lived by LIFE graduates, faculty and staff, and they make it their lives’work to serve the community and care for people.

Few people embody Lasting Purpose More completely than Joseph Lupo, D.C.(’78). From the moment he stepped onto the LIFE campus through the 36 years he has spent in practice, Lupo strives each day to live out the principles he learned during his student years.

Like many DCs, Lupo came to Chiropractic as a second profession.“I grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University majoring in math,” Lupo says. “I worked in construction to pay my way and in the process became a general contractor.Upon graduation, I continued in my successful business, which evolved in the seven years it took for me to earn my degree.” Fast-forward five years, when in February 1975, a friend of Lupo’s who had heard a presentation by several of  LIFE College’s co-founders at Wayne State and subsequently decided to attend LIFE asked him to tag along. “That was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even know what a chiropractor was,” says Lupo. “I thought he was crazy, but the suggestion intrigued me.”

Upon arriving in Marietta, Lupo and his friend attended a new patient orientation presented by John Hofmann, D.C., oneLIFE’s co-founders. What he heard there changed his life. “The concept of innate intelligence and that the body is a self-healing organism, and sick people get well by spinal adjustments done by hand really excited me,” says Lupo. With that excitement and a renewed sense of purpose, Lupo’s life changed course completely, and he knew he had to go to LIFE. “Between February and July, we moved into our new home, our baby was born, I sold my business, sold our home and moved to Atlanta. Whew!” he says.“People thought I was nuts,” he adds, of all the major life changes he and his family made in a span of only five months.“I loved it.” Lupo graduated as a member of LIFE’s third-ever class in June 1978.

By the beginning of the next year, the Lupos had moved to back to Michigan to be closer to their families, and he had a practice up and running in Roseville. In the spirit of doing and giving, and imitating what he learned from both Hofmann and Dr. Sid Williams, Lupo gave a new patient orientation in his first week of practice(“Even [though] I was scared to death to speak to a group,” he says) and has been doing that ever since. “A group new patient orientation, to me, serves two purposes,” explains Lupo. “First, to educate the patients because they will never hear our chiropractic story anywhere else. It’s their only chance. So I feel it is our responsibility to tell it. When I heard it, it changed my life. Second, if you are willing to tell it to a group, no matter the size, it adds credibility to our message.”

Lupo’s efforts more than paid off.  He saw 99 patients in his first two weeks of practice, and business has been booming for more than 35 years. “My practice has always been busy, I believe, because I focused on the patients’ needs instead of mine,” he explains, capturing the essence of serving his community that is inherent in Lasting Purpose. “I try to incorporate Lasting Purpose personally and professionally by, as Dr. Ian Grassam used to teach, ‘Reporting for duty’ every day to help someone,” he says. His practice,which now includes his son, Jeffrey, and his daughter, Jessie, who both received their DC degrees from LIFE, operates on that simple principle.

The combination of a LIFE education and Lasting Purpose has carried Lupo’s career to enviable heights. In turn, he has given back to the profession, institution and people he feels have gotten him to where he is. “Dr. Sid taught us a Universal Law: ‘What you give comes back multiplied seven-fold,’”Lupo says. “I also believe that whatever you believe in, you must support.” Because he loves LIFE and everything that it represents,he makes his support felt in ways financial and otherwise—as a member of the Board of Trustees, a LIFEforce 1000 doctor and a donor whose support was instrumental in carrying LIFE through a period of uncertainty. “I believe that, along with a group of chiropractic colleagues, we saved the chiropractic principle (which lives at LIFE) in 2004 by saving Life University. [We helped] Dr. Chuck Ribley and our then new president, Dr. Guy Riekeman launch a huge fundraising effort with $100,000 donations that encouraged many more significant donations totaling several million dollars.Plus, the effort led to many student referrals to build our enrollment back to more than 2,500 students,” he says. Fortunately, for generations of students yet to come, Lupo’s generosity did not stop once LIFE was back on its feet. In conjunction with the 20/20 Vision strategic plan, the Lupos recently pledged $300,000 for improvements to the lower rugby field, which will be named for their family as a result.

Their gift is significant, as it serves as the campaign’s lead gift and pushes the total raised to date to more than $425,000, approximately 50 percent of the goal. The Lupos hope that this will spur additional gifts toward the goal,from both LIFE’s rugby alumni and non rugby alumni and friends. While Lupo never played rugby, he understands that the international attention LIFE’s rugby program is getting through various media outlets (WSJ, NBC Sports, etc.) has a positive impact on the general public in terms of their views on both Chiropractic and LIFE. As more recognition occurs and universities like Florida, Ohio State and Notre Dame step foot on campus to play our team, it is vital to have high quality rugby facilities that reflect the high quality product that is on the field.

In addition to providing financial support, Lupo has also been a firm believer in clearing a path for students to find their way to the profession. “Since my passion is to change the world through Chiropractic, I have always shared the chiropractic story and encouraged people to enter the profession,” he says. As a result, he has referred several hundred students to LIFE, who in turn have gone into the world to live out Lasting Purpose of their own, which perpetuates the positive cycle. “By doing this, I feel as I am reaching hundreds of thousands more people to become chiropractic patients and live a drug-free chiropractic lifestyle,” he says.

Getting the most out of life, says Lupo, requires a 100 percent commitment,and loving what you do. To that end,he has committed himself to being a leader in the profession. Being involved with the International Chiropractors Association, the Michigan Chiropractic Council (which later became the Michigan Association of Chiropractors), as well as his various positions at LIFE has given Lupo the opportunity to be among other chiropractic leaders. “[I have learned so much from them],” he says, “and [that] has made me a better person.” He emphasizes that the only way to effect change is to get involved and fight for it.The combination of Lasting Purpose and technical skill that he learned at LIFE has made Lupo a force to be reckoned within the profession. “By totally internalizing chiropractic philosophy and the adjusting techniques I learned at LIFE, [I have had]confidence in what I do in my office,” he says. “I believe the work ethic combined with enthusiasm I learned from Dr. Sid helped me attract and retain patients.”

Lupo also remains confident that the basic principles of Lasting Purpose—giving,doing, loving and serving out of a sense ofabundance—are the surest way to personal and professional success, as well as a feeling of fulfillment, no matter what life may bring. “I don’t see Chiropractic as a job,” he says, “it’s my life and I love it.”Lasting Purpose has also helped Lupo know that the path he has followed has been the right one for him.



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