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Posts Tagged ‘doctorate’

Nearly a month of celebrations: that’s what this year’s graduation season holds for me.  Last month, I went back to Missoula (Montana) for the University of Montana’s graduation – one of the only chances I get to meet some of my online students in person.  It was wonderful to see them start on the next stages of their lives, full of joy at having made it through and gotten their degrees.  Commencement speaker was Tom Brokaw, a beloved figure in Montana as a part-time resident there.  He warned the students that they weren’t graduating into real life, the way everyone says; real life was back in junior high.  People still act with the same petty jealousies and power plays out there.  I had to laugh – and wonder if any of us ever truly change!

My good friend Michael Brown, Jr., who has headed up the Virginia Peninsula Chapter of PRSA this past year, received his doctorate from Old Dominion University just before that, and Mara Woloshin and I – who have worked with him on his APR studies – sent him many warm congratulations!

Today, I’m headed out to the Oregon Coast, but with a stopover at my cousin Christie’s house in Lake Oswego to help celebrate her daughter, Kaitlyn’s, graduation from high school.  I think Kaitlyn has just landed a scholarship to the university of her choice back east, to study performing arts; I can’t wait to find out more!  She’s an amazing young woman.

Tomorrow I head to Eugene, where my good friend Cary Greenwood is getting her doctorate at the University of Oregon; and then Friday, I’ll be back here in the Portland metro area to take part as a faculty member in the Marylhurst University graduation ceremonies, where several of my students are graduating.  Just after those ceremonies, my young next-door neighbor, David – who lawn-mowing abilities I will sorely miss – is celebrating his graduation from high school, and I know he’s headed for success in his life.

I love these times of celebration, although I mentioned to someone last year that attending a graduation as a faculty member is very nearly as bad as having your kids leave home in terms of its bittersweet taste.  “Bye!” say the students.  “Thanks for everything!”  — and I mope around thinking, “But I worked with you really hard, and I’ve learned to care a lot about you and your success – you’ll stay in touch, won’t you?”  Well, some do and some don’t.  It is kind of like having your kids leave home; at first, they just want to fly and test their wings.  It’s only much later – sometimes once they’ve had their own kids – that they begin to feel that double-edged lance of success and loss.

But it’s all good.  It’s the way life should be.  And as I head out today,  I’m just filled with joy for my wonderful friends, neighbor and family member and all they’ve accomplished.  Moving forward, moving on – with sails into the wind.

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