Commencement then and now
Posted on May 14, 2014 by Dr. Kim Long, dean of the School of Business and Humanities.
As we prepare to watch another class of students walk across the stage and shake hands, it’s easy start focusing on the mechanics (“How do I pronounce this name?”). Then a student emails you, asking about something related to the ceremony, and you remember that hundreds of lives are about to change in a major way. You are about to be part of a significant milestone in students’ lives, and it takes you back to your own college days.
It was different in 1978. I was already married when I graduated with my English degree and teacher certification. I had been on my own completely since I drove my red Ford Falcon away from home in 1974 to go to college four hours away. I didn’t know anyone. I worked hard. I made good grades. I made good friends. I saw my mother every other weekend or so, and we talked on the phone maybe once a week. She never called my school—never had any reason to—but I always knew she supported me.
Those years were the best in my life. I grew up, I “found myself,” I married the high school boyfriend, and then I began teaching in the fall of 1978.
Today’s students are products of their time, just as I was and just as my mother was. She turned 80 last week, still going strong. These students about to cross the stage will live exciting lives, make good and bad decisions, grow up, find themselves, get married, start careers, turn 80.
Graduation Day will always be exciting. It really never does get old. I am so fortunate to be part of this one.