I love attending graduations. Whether I am watching a preschool celebration in a crowded auditorium, caps being thrown in the air on a high school football field, or the ceremonial hooding of a doctoral graduate on a stage….Pomp and Circumstance brings tears to my eyes.
I’m sure it is part nostalgia, recalling my graduations and what they signified for me. It is part anticipation, dreaming of what it will be like to experience these events with my children. It is part sadness, thinking of those who may never have the opportunity to experience such things. Mostly though, I am overcome by a vicarious feeling of triumph for those who have set their mind to a goal and obtained it.
Completing a degree in the best of circumstances is trying. When you consider the NCU population of working professionals, one cannot help but be awestruck at how monumental graduation is—juggling families (sometimes children and parents, in sickness and health!), careers (in times of economic prosperity as well as a faltering economy), along with anything else life throws one’s way!
Graduations are the end result of dedication, perseverance, and hard work—not only by those walking across the stage, but all the family members, friends and colleagues, and NCU faculty and team members who supported the graduate throughout their academic endeavor. I am touched by each story I hear, and struck at how it is never solely about one person and one dream. It is about a family, a network of friends, a circle of colleagues, a cadre of encouraging faculty, advisors and other NCU team members who cheered on the graduate when times were good, and picked them up when times were, well, not so good. Each story is a mosaic woven of purposeful human interaction that weaves a beautiful tale.
Perhaps the strongest emotion I feel at an NCU graduation is one of hope: Hope that the completed degree will result in positive outcomes, not just for the graduate, but for their communities and professions.
As we celebrate, let us also take on a great challenge, understanding that: “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” (Marian Wright Edelman)
Congratulations to all those who have graduated and accomplished your educational goals! We are all so proud of you.
Dr. Heather Frederick