At this time of year I see three stages of college life in the span of a few weeks.
For the vast majority people participating in the May commencement ceremonies it’s the most important day of their lives. I’m not talking about just the graduates. For parents, grandparents, siblings, it’s a day of pride, of sharing a huge accomplishment. There are still a lot of students who are first generation college students — the first in their family’s entire lineage to earn a college degree.
The enormity of that fact still overwhelms me.
During Alumni Weekend in June, dreams bow to memories. Alumni don’t just bring back memories, they bring them alive as they point to a window in North Hall and talk about where they lived and how uneven the hardwood hall floors were and how in the winter the radiators were so hot they had to open the windows. And in all recountings, what was once a frustration or a problem is now a fond memory.
I hosted the Class of ’72 during Alumni Weekend. I’m a 1971 alum so we had a lot in common. Many of the women were at the forefront of the Women’s Liberation Movement. They remain strong ladies with a great sense of humor. I met Carla Rineer who shares my passion for books. She shares her passion daily in the classroom as a professor at Millersville University. We are now, of course, friends on Facebook.
Completing the circle are the entering freshmen who are beginning the journey toward their dreams. (And college isn’t just about education; it’s attaining the academic knowledge and social skills to make dreams reality). I watch groups of parents and children pass on their way from Manser to Straughn, trying to keep all the information and directions straight. One part of orientation that we don’t talk about is the visitors’ initiation into all the steps and hills of what everyone agrees is a beautiful campus.
I hope that every student and parent comes here with the same passion and enthusiasm that Barbara Liszcz and her daughter, Chelsea brought with them. Reading Barbara’s blog gives you a renewed appreciation for what a special place Mansfield University is.
Good luck, graduates.
Thanks for the memories, alumni.
Welcome, incoming freshmen. You’ll be an alum before you know it.