My View from South Hill
Monday, May 18, 2009
I had an opportunity last Sunday to address the undergraduate and graduate students in Ithaca College's class of 2009. They compiled a remarkable record of scholarship and service while at IC, and I expect great things from them in the future. In my remarks, I noted the seeming irony that the ceremony held to mark completion of their degree programs is called a "Commencement," or beginning. However, receiving a higher education degree is simultaneously a completion and a beginning, just like every other major life transition.
I mentioned in my brief speech that I had a different kind of commencement less than two weeks ago, when my wife Amber and I experienced the birth of our first child. Liam's arrival most definitely marked the end of one phase of our family life and the beginning of another, and so I offered the graduates a few observations baed on my experience of the last two weeks. Specifically, how can you know if your commencement is going well?
If you look at the sky and the trees and everything around you, and you feel as if you are seeing these things for the first time, then you are having a successful commencement.
If you find yourself intellectually and emotionally drawn to subjects that never held much interest for you before, then you are probably having a very good commencement.
If you find new meaning and deep value in all your relationships with other people, then you just might be having an excellent commencement.
If you realize that great things come in little packages, and that beauty is found in the smallest of details, then you are on track for a revelatory commencement.
If you find yourself getting less sleep, but you still feel more alive than ever before, then congratulations. Your commencement is everything a commencement can and should be.
As I did at our graduation ceremony, I would like to take this opportunity as well to wish each member of the Ithaca College class of 2009 a wonderful commencement into the next phase of their lives. We know that an Ithaca College education tranforms our students; this particular group of graduates also had a huge impact on Ithaca College. I am sure that our graduates will have many transformative commencements to come.
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