Farewell, and safe voyages

Graduation is an occupational hazard for all teachers from pre-school and kindergarden on up. Here Spring rolls around and another crop of fine UMM students graduate, heading out into that nebulous “the world”. Today I watched another great group of people walk across that stage and shake hands with the assembled dignitaries, and I want to wish them all the best.

This year’s CSci graduates included students graduating with high distinction, students who’d published their research in major international conferences, done extensive volunteer work, travelled the world, pursued diverse interests, and won highly competitive national awards. Some are going into grad school, some to jobs, some to volunteer work, and some are still trying to figure out the next step. One of the great advantages of a small department is that I’d worked personally with almost all of them on special projects, and had the rest in at least a few classes, and I consider it an honor and a privilege to have gotten to know them.

And that’s just the CSci grads. Another advantage of a small campus is you get to know lots of students in lots of areas. People I knew from the radio station graduated today, along with committee members, musicians, artists, actors, historians, psychologists, biologists, and the lot. This included two Truman Scholars and, as we were reminded today, the only other schools that could boast two Truman Scholars at their graduation this year were Stanford and Wellesley. Not bad for a little school in the middle of nowhere that no one’s ever heard of, eh?

Talking about how great this or that group of students is always sounds dangerously like comparing children, but we just keep getting cool students to work with. This is really the “norm”, whatever that means when both the individuals and groups have such distinct personalities. These folks leave, taking with them a lot of experience and knowledge and enthusiasm, and there’s no doubt that we’ll miss them. There are, however, plenty of great students still on campus, and wonderful new admits that will be joining us in August.

So, best wishes to all this year’s graduates.

Do cool things.

And send us a postcard now and then.

P.S. I’ll try to get the pictures I took today up on Flickr sometime in the next few weeks, but with grading, the May Session course, and being in Ann Arbor the second half of the week, processing all those photos is going to have to wait a bit.

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