My department head came to my name on the “Faculty who Haven’t Gone to Commencement Recently to Represent the Department” list and told me it was my turn this winter. Actually, it really is about time– I’ve been here five years and this is the first ceremony I’ve attended– and when all is said and done, it was kind of fun. I got to dress up in a funny academic costume (just a rental and not one of the fancy ones that some folks have), I got to listen to an okay speaker (Kevin Klose, who runs NPR), and I got to see the students right as they came down the ramp after getting their diplomas. It was interesting, because you could really see in some of their eyes the extent to which it was a defining moment in their lives. Or not.
Best story of the afternoon: there was a guy who graduated this term who was 83 years old. He actually started college in the late 30s, and had been taking classes at night at EMU since the late 60s.
Out of the 1,000 or so graduates, I only recognized two students of mine. There must have been more than that, and I am sure there are some students who graduated but who didn’t go to commencement. Well, if you were there and I didn’t see you, congrats; and if you weren’t there and you are about to graduate, good luck to you, too.