President’s Blog › The First of Many Graduations

Posted in: From the desk of the president | May 13, 2014

The campus is quiet; graduates have left. Everyone remaining on campus is already preparing for the incoming class of freshmen and transfer students to arrive in the Fall.

Last week was a wonderful series of events. The Baccalaureate Ceremony was the capstone to a great Friday during which we had a Class of 2014 Farewell Luncheon, the Teacher Induction Ceremony, the ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, the School of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony and the Commencement Dinner.

The teacher induction service reminded me of my first grade teacher Mrs. Davis. I shared with the graduates what Mrs. Davis had meant to me and how she had positively affected my life. I encouraged them to remember that they have the ability to make an imprint that will have a ripple effect for years to come.

The School of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony was inspirational. It was wonderful watching the students—who will be leaders in a major portion of our healthcare system—receive their hoods signifying that they have completed a rigorous four-year program. They are now ready to be a part of a system that is poised to take care of a growing healthcare demand. In my remarks to the pharmacy graduates, I discussed how different they were from some other pharmacy school graduates. I pointed out that our graduates have a commitment to service based on our motto, “While We Live, We Serve,” that goes beyond what some other schools espouse. I have no doubt that our students will serve well.

The Baccalaureate Ceremony was moving and inspirational. It was particularly nice to have Dr. Jeri Parris Perkins lead the worship. Jeri will be leaving us this summer to become the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Clinton. Her remarks about moving on were poignant and impacting.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the 2nd Lieutenant Commissioning Ceremony that recognizes dedicated young people who are passionate about their country. Having received an ROTC commission, I always find this ceremony uplifting. It was fulfilling and inspiring to see these new soldiers march in their uniforms at graduation.

In between the pomp and circumstance, it was nice to see the students and their friends enjoy some informal gatherings with faculty, staff and family. The School of Pharmacy had a farewell party for the P4 students on Thursday night at Bailey Memorial Stadium, and the undergraduates and their friends celebrated at the same location on Friday night.

Graduation was particularly gratifying as I watched the pharmacy students and the undergraduates come together for our first joint graduation under the oaks on West Plaza.  It was the first of many graduations combining our wonderful liberal arts tradition and its commitment to service with a growing healthcare component, and its dedication to service. I feel confident that William Plumer Jacobs would be proud.

 

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