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!
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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!
“…If I can make it there,
You know I’m gonna make it just about anywhere
Come on, come through
New York, New York…”