Monday, May 30, 2011

It Was a Glorious Graduation Day!

I've now been a full week without internet.  I won't count the thrilling 10 minutes online when I "stole" internet from a fluke unlocked signal that I could only briefly capture at the rental house.

I've been itching to write about graduation and we've finally come into Lexington Coffees for caffeine and computer time!

The festivities at W&L are held out on the lawn that faces the Colonnade.... the audience faces the stage set up in front of Lee Chapel and behind us is Washington Hall and the other Colonnade buildings.

Baccalaureate on Wednesday was sunny and clear!!   For me the highlight of the ceremony was when the University Chorus sang their beautiful rendition of Shenandoah which is a tear jerker even at non-emotional times.  With the mountains around us and the fact that the students will soon be "longing to see" Shenandoah and will soon be "away, we're bound away"..... there are more than a few sniffles and moist eyes.

Students wore their caps and gowns for Baccalaureate.  Joe and I appreciated Clark voicing his gratitude to us for his four years of college.  He was excited for the future and a little wistful about what he was leaving behind.  But with big plans ahead, I know he was ready to move on.

                   One ceremony down and the big one yet to come.

Despite a small chance of rain having been forecast, Thursday dawned with another day of blue skies and not a cloud in sight.  Every W&L student harbors a fear of rain causing the ceremony to be held indoors at neighboring VMI (the only place large enough for the crowd).

The Geology Department had a breakfast shortly before graduation in the central atrium of the science building......

No he's not wielding a weapon toward one of his professors.... it's the engraved rock hammer that he received as a gift from the Department.

Still fresh and not yet sweaty!  Saying goodbye before going to claim our seats and meet up with the rest of the family.
Since I didn't keep a journal or blog at the time of the graduations of his brothers, I'll note for posterity that I was every bit as proud when Clark's three older brothers graduated.  However with this graduation, although I felt the same massive swelling of pride and excitement for his future, there was also also the subtle awareness of a closing of a chapter of MY life as well as his.... the last son to graduate from college.

I've joked for sometime now about being "outsourced" as a mother during the last four years.  Now I think that I've been officially laid-off!

By the time that the processional flags came into sight along the colonnade, there was a packed crowd with more seersucker, bowties and sundresses on display than you could "shake a stick at."

A chair waiting for him....

When the graduates were seated and President Ruscio began his welcoming address, we heard the increasing noise of jet engines, and to our amazement, a military jet (F-14 or 15?) flew RIGHT over the lawn.  Buzzed us and tipped his wings.

The crowd broke into spontaneous applause and we were all delighted with the unexpected "lagniappe." The timing was too perfect to be coincidence so I'm guessing it was a former graduate of VMI or W&L who knew about the ceremony?

After the requisite speeches, the names of all 400+ graduates were called out for their walk across the stage in front of the Chapel.

No cattle call crowding; every graduate had their own moment on stage to shake the President's hand.

The official photos aren't yet online so I can't post the exact moment when he got his sheepskin (and yes, it is a REAL sheepskin diploma in that blue tube!..... W&L is all about tradition).

A little sweaty but proud of our son/brother/brother-in-law/fiance!!    (We were missing Carter but he got to watch from afar thanks to the streaming video feed)

A check of the diploma that afternoon.
                             Yes, it's all spelled correctly!  
                                                   A wonderful two days for us .... a marvelous four years for him!


  1. wow. you must be incredibly proud! outsourced to laid-off. you made me chuckle. it probably was bittersweet for you, but still so wonderful... congrats to him!

  2. Thanks so much! It was a day to remember!
    What part of Wisconsin did you move from? We spent a great week up in Door County one summer and I'd love to visit again.

  3. New reader over from Karen's This Old House...congratulations to your son AND to you and your husband for the long road to graduation. The pictures were just like I was there, wonderful! Looking forward to reading your blog...


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