Tomorrow Is Commencement

I’m sitting in the library studying the impact of the Reformation in the Netherlands. It’s fun to be able to do my own research. It’s been a long time. Ultimately, the plan is to discern the impact the Dutch Reformation had on Eastern Orthodoxy, if any, and/or vice versa. I’ve found nothing about the influence of either one upon the other…yet.

But this is only a small part of the energy within this small university. Tomorrow is commencement! Always an exciting time in the annual cycle of the academic year. You’ve developed strong bonds with the students over the years. Most of the students arrive right out of high school (18 or 19 years old.) They leave as young, usually ambitious, graduates ready to set the world on fire.

Sometimes, I must admit, the students graduate with a strong sense of relief and an equally strong desire to “get the hell out of here!” But those of us who look forward to the next group of incoming 18 year olds fill our hearts and minds with the sentiment that the graduating men and women are leaving us and beginning life anew with joy and a strong sense of accomplishment.

Okay. I also must admit that the ceremony itself can be quite tedious. We all get dressed up in our academic regalia, march into the hall with loud marching music, take our seats, doff our mortarboards and tams (unless, of course, you happen to be female), and settle into uncomfortable temporary seating and listen to prayers and speeches that are usually simply forgettable.

Ah, but in spite of all this, it is a magical time of year — joy, relief, and, well, commencement.

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