With so much joy and pride, and yes, maybe just a bit of sorrow...
It's May Commencement Weekend, that spectacular recognition of achievement, bright potential, and the power of education. It's the transformational ritual in which a student becomes a graduate, in which the traveler joins the ranks of the arrived.
And so we celebrate -- the graduates, yes, but their families and loved ones, too, because earning a degree most often takes a village -- and we know that was especially so this spring.
This year, we're celebrating Commencement from home - and home is in St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Columbia....and scores of other distant places. We are closing out a semester unlike any other in Stephens' 187-year history.
It's a time for celebration - and just a bit of grieving. Our graduates lost much of their final semester, with all of its emotional highs and lows, memory-making moments, and "last time I'll do this" nostalgia.
It was a sacrifice worth making, though that was not left to them to decide. But it was a sacrifice, nonetheless, and we honor and respect that sense of loss. They have reason to be sad.
So we are sad with them....even as we are joyful and so very proud of all they have achieved.
We'll tell them that this morning in our placeholder for their big day...a virtual toast to the completion of their undergraduate degrees and the beginning of their next big adventures. And we'll do it again when we welcome them all back to campus for a Senior Showcase Day and a Missouri Theatre walk-across-that-stage Commencement celebration later this summer.
In the meantime, let's focus on the joyful noise that is our community cheering and toasting its newest family of proud alumnae: Here's to the Stephens College graduating class of 2020 -- perhaps the most resilient and courageous group of graduates in our long and esteemed history!