Grad Weekend Potpourri

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:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
I tend to think of my students as things in bloom as well — I’m glad for the chance to see them.
***
Another end-of-year ritual is the annual faculty party at the Dean’s house. Mrs. M and I made an appearance, bearing the cheese ball that she makes for these occasions, using my dad’s recipe. Here’s another example of why Mondoville is a great place to work. I’m a teetotaler, which puts me in a distinct minority among my peers, but Timothy (the Dean) always makes a point of having a six-pack of IBC Root Beer on hand for me. As always, it was a good time, marked this year by the presence of a couple of toddlers, the kids of some of our younger professors. It reminded me of when as a new Ph.D. student at Ball State, I brought the Spawn (at about 15 months) to the departmental picnic. It’s a good memory, and these parties will be as well.
***
The Spawn’s sophomore year has drawn to a close as well, but she’ll be working in the college library this summer, and seems to enjoy it thoroughly. Her particular interests have turned toward archiving and special collections, and she’s starting to think about graduate school choices. There are several solid options in about a four-hour radius of Mondoville, so we may do a road trip in the coming months.
Of course, she’s also stoked by our traditional Daddy/Daughter trip to HeroesCon in June, and some of the stuff hitting the theaters this summer. And she’ll be starting her summer with a bang, as I’m taking her to her first “real” rock concert when Alice Cooper comes to Real City next weekend. Reports will follow.
***
And why not a bit of music to wrap things up? In a bit less than two hours, I’ll be indulging my new habit of donating blood, which I started a bit less than a year ago. I haven’t reached the gallon mark yet, but I’ll be there by year’s end. And with Memorial Day weekend (and traffic) coming up, there will doubtless be continued need. So I’ll close today with an exhortation from Pete Townshend (and David Gilmour on lead, Pino Palladino on bass, and Simon Phillips behind the kit).
See you soon!
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About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Music, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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