I am just beginning to learn the “seasons of academic life” here at WSU.
It turns out, May is all about transition. There is an intense lead up to the grand finale of graduation where students and their loved ones wander in small herds all about the campus and faculty and staff are inundated with last minute activities to make all the celebrations as perfect as possible (notice how I am not mentioning the rain, clouds, and thunder that provided a less than desirable accent to this year’s graduation traditions).
At the college, there are so many people who make this possible – our undergraduate and graduate advisors, our DVM student programs team, staff in the dean’s office, and our faculty who lead undergraduate, graduate, and professional student education. Thank you all, really – what you do matters.
The students each walk across the stage with their own spirit coming through — sometimes nervous, anxious … but also proud and happy, many with personal decorative flairs (shoes, leis, messages … LOVE all of that).
Family in the bleachers scream and cheer. The dads of vet students were particularly funny – “That’s my daughter, she is a doctor!” The vet med undergraduates were a wonderful, spirited group (it was such an honor to see them off and shake their hands).
Many of the professional students picked faculty to hood them, faculty who made their education special. Thank you to those teachers and clinicians that contribute to the strong fabric of our community.
The pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies are deeply rooted traditions that, at their best, inspire reflection on why we are here and the importance of training the next generation of scientists and veterinarians, and our amazing workforce who are truly prepared to address the many challenges facing our region and world. I left them with the words to do what they do best – “show up, work hard, play hard, help others.”
And, what now? Staff and faculty take much earned vacation (I know I did), and then we re-group for the focused work we intend to complete this summer. I look forward to another academic season focused on unleashing possibilities together, leading this amazing college forward with you all – friends, alumni, and donors.