I don’t know exactly why, but yesterday’s commencement seemed especially wonderful. I walked up the hill, as usual, and enjoyed entering the happiness zone created by graduating students and those there to celebrate with them. I had been assigned a task — to take a photo of the MA graduates:
And also of the PhD graduates, who here are are partaking of the Fletcher tradition whereby a current PhD candidate sends them on their way with a glass of early-morning sparkling wine.
Job complete, I sat with the PhDs and watched the procession file in.
The All-University Commencement ceremony takes place on the main campus quad, open to whatever weather might come. The skies threatened but didn’t deliver and everyone made it under the tent for Fletcher’s ceremony, unimpeded by rain.
Then the ceremony began. Dean Stavridis brought us to order and briskly moved on to the first item, which was (as I mentioned on Friday) to present Kristen with the Administrator of the Year award. (At this point I was taking photos over the heads of faculty members.)
And then Professor Alnoor Ebrahim received the Paddock Teaching Award.
Two graduating students, Laurance
And our own Student Stories writer, Pulkit, delivered terrific addresses.
Then students streamed up to the stage and collected their diplomas. At some points, my thoughts went like this: I met him in the April after he was admitted! We talked about her foreign language skills — glad she took care of it! I interviewed him! I remember her application! Who is that guy — never met him at all! On balance, it was a parade of students (now alumni) who, in some way, have made their mark on the community.
The last group to be called up are the PhD graduates and I unexpectedly found myself needing to do the other job I was assigned — to prompt them to head toward the stage, where they received their doctoral hoods.
And then the ceremony was over. I have to say that Dean Stavridis really kept things moving without making the event feel rushed. The whole morning was lovely and I feel fortunate to be able to participate in this important moment in the academic lives of our graduates.
Once again, congratulations to the Class of 2018, your families and friends, and everyone at Fletcher who supported them along the way!