It’s the morning after Commencement here in Mondoville, and I enter a break for the rest of the month, before I teach my traditional two courses in June. With luck, I’ll get a little writing done, but in the meantime, have some potpourri.
As I said, yesterday marked our commencement exercise. We had graduates from Canada to New Zealand, from Chile to Scotland, as well as from coast to coast here in the States. A recent tradition here at the college is to have a couple of students deliver the graduation addresses for the Spring ceremony, and one of our speakers this year was Trung Duong, who I mentioned not long ago. In the course of talking about the joys and challenges of undergrad life, he mentioned “asking a professor for an extension literally two minutes before the assignment is due.” He paused, and then added, “Thanks, Dr. Moore.” Hey — there’s a reason what I do is called the humanities, and he came to me in advance, if just barely.
It was a very good year for English majors — we graduated four exceptionally good ones, our best year in a while. One of them won the Cromer Award, given by the faculty’s choice for outstanding graduate. I was especially pleased because the winner was Madison Darby-McClure, who not only was an English major (and creative writing minor), but has also been the Spawn’s sorority big sister and best friend in her time here at Mondoville. (I’m also pleased that Madison is sticking around this summer to coach a youth volleyball team before heading to new adventures.) But honestly, I think we could have made a strong case for any of the four, so while Madison may be primus inter pares, they were definitely pares. Trung, Connor, Madison, and Kelly — I’m proud of all of you. Be well.
Another aspect of this year’s commencement was the recognition of some retiring faculty with emeritus status. Among this year’s crop were a professor of Political Science who arrived when I did, a professor of business administration with whom I’d talk college sports on a regular basis, and the professor who hired me here in 2003. Dale moved to the Dark Tower of administration a few years ago, and retired as Associate Dean, but she always maintained an interest in her beloved English program. I’ve been honored to have worked with her, and wish her the best in her retirement. And I’ll always be grateful to her for giving me the chance to do what I do.
Of course, as I watched the ceremony, I thought of my own career, and the realization that sooner or later, I’ll go to my last Commencement as an active faculty member (admittedly, you could possibly find some who would argue that I may have done that years ago, but LEAVE ME MY ILLUSIONS!). I figure I probably have another nineteen years or so to go, if I retire at 70. That would be another 38 Commencements, which may seem like a lot, but really aren’t, in the grand scale of things. It makes me think of the Housman poem: