Commencement takes place on Sunday.  There’s a busy weekend ahead, with clam bakes, champagne toasts, and the usual pomp and circumstance.  The schedule is further complicated by the return of Fletcher alumni for reunion.  The School will be hopping!

At this time of year, my thoughts inevitably turn to the students who are graduating.  There are always a few with whom I have a close relationship, though that relationship doesn’t always involve actually meeting the student!  I think that all of us in Admissions have a special fondness for applicants we champion, either because we see something special in the application, or because we met them in an interview.  One of those students this year is Tarek Zeidan.  I was a reader on Tarek’s application, and I remember well the warmth of his recommenders’ letters.

Tarek graduated from American University of Beirut with a solid academic profile, but he still wasn’t the most obvious admit.  He had a little less work experience than most of our students, and his experience wasn’t in a perfect line with his goals.  But we took a chance and offered him admission, and I don’t think there’s anyone at Fletcher who would argue with that decision.  Tarek has been a warm and engaging presence in the Fletcher community for his two years here.  He participated in conferences, served on the Fletcher Forum staff, and conducted Admissions interviews.  And now…Now he’s got a great job with the Brookings Institution, working on Middle East Policy.

Deep down, my Admissions pals and I know that most of our students would do fine at any graduate school.  But sometimes it seems there’s just the perfect fit between Fletcher and a student — the student adds to the community, and Fletcher makes a strong mark on the student.  Tarek is an example.

I’m very happy that Tarek has landed a position that’s so perfect for him.  Still, though I hardly had daily contact with him, I’ll miss Tarek’s presence at Fletcher.  And that’s the way it is every May.  The Admissions staff feels an uncomfortable mixture of pride in our students, hope as they head off to do great things, and sadness that they’re moving on.

Congratulations, Tarek, and everyone in the Fletcher Class of 2009!


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