Columbia U. Graduation, Part II: Commencement

Columbia’s university-wide Commencement ceremony brought together the 5,667 undergraduates of Columbia College, SEAS  and Barnard College as well as those receiving advanced degrees. It was a sea of blue!

Can you see Daniel? (image from

The weather initially threatened a sea of rain like the day before, but instead opted for a menu of muggy which was only intensified in the crush of 30,000 attendees all jostling for space. Welcome to New York!

Angie and Chris joined us and Taylor came up from WDC for the briefest of visits. Thanks for braving the crowds and the humidity, guys!

Our cheering section! Taylor, Angie, Chris and the CE

After an impressive array of awards and honorary degrees were presented, the business agenda of the Commencement ceremony called for the Deans of the respective departments to “beg” the college president to confer diplomas upon the graduation candidates. This was done with much humor and bravado, thankfully, because it takes a very long time to hear eighteen different supplicants plead the cause of their students.

The Columbia U. MBA candidates help plead their cause at Commencement

In his keynote address, University President Lee C. Bollinger gave the graduates one particularly stirring bit of advice, which was to say “If you ever feel disconnected from a higher purpose, you must have the courage to change your life”.

CU president Lee C. Bollinger in 2010 (image from

Looking back over Daniel’s childhood, there are so many people who have strived to keep him connected to a higher purpose, and I am grateful to all of them. He has always been uplifted by his family – his grandmother, who keeps him well-supplied with sweet rolls; his brother who has served, often without knowing it, as a role model; his sisters, who have doted upon him from near and afar; aunts and uncle whose encouragement is present even when they can’t be.


Then there are the friends who have been Daniel’s extended family – Dave, Pamela, Kirk and almost-sisters, Alexandra and Victoria. There are the angels who helped us with the day-to-day and cheered Daniel along from elementary school through high school:  Jessica, Holly, Carly, Liz,  Julia and Teri. And the mentors along the way: Mrs. Morgan and the teachers at El Montecito Early School; swim coach Ira Klein; and Laguna Blanca teachers like Dr. Schmidt and Magistra, who shaped Daniel’s love of literature and the Classics. And Daniel’s legions of friends, who are too numerous to list, but long-time pals Hannah, Christian, Michele, Valerie,  Giulie and Cory come to mind as do Columbia friends Chris, Jeff, Peter, Mary, Christina, Fan, Tiffany…the list goes on and on.

Daniel’s graduation lunch: Tiffany, Fan, Daniel, Chris, Mary and Giulie

Of course, Daniel’s list might be different from mine, and the danger of listing anyone is to forget someone, but I know all these people  – and more – have cared for Daniel through the years and helped make him the focused, grounded, impressive young man that he is today.

My wish for him as he leaves the classroom and enters the “real” world is to arm himself with the knowledge he has gained at CU; the encouragement of his teachers and mentors; the well-wishes of his family and friends; the unconditional love of his parents and the wisdom of Matthew 22:36-40. Look out world, here he comes!

Proud dad and the graduate

“…If I can make it there,

You know I’m gonna make it just about anywhere

Come on, come through

New York, New York…”

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Family, Friends, Meaningful, New York city and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Columbia U. Graduation, Part II: Commencement

  1. Katherine says:

    Bear with me as I tend to get a bit monomaniacal when logging on to the chicken-blog. And so all the CU references threw me.

    Congratulations to the Chicken Undergrad! (Nope – that doesn’t work, seeing as he has now graduated…)

    Well done, Chicken Upgrade! (No – that’s just weird.)

    Kudos, Chicken Unlimited! (I like it. The world is yours!)

  2. alexandra says:

    this is beautiful, Daniel is so loved!

  3. tdevir says:

    I am so glad I have this wonderfully written blog to read as I was so sad not to be there! I am so proud of Daniel and I know he will achieve great things in life!

  4. dizzyguy says:

    Daniel has achieved his success to date by his own hard work, perserverance, and the many gifts that were given him at birth by his Creator. However, his family (and especially his mother) has always been right there for him at all times. His friends have always been of the very highest quality and have surrounded him with support when he needed it. So I don’t thing it really takes a village, but it does take a family and friends to get a good start on your life.

    Congratulations on a job well done, Daniel. And thanks also to all of you who have helped him on his journey.


  5. pollo amigo says:

    I love the “fun percent”! Look out world, Daniel’s coming!

  6. jess says:

    So proud of our D.

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