Graduation Gratitude


Having just returned from our daughter’s graduation (she received a JD & MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA), I’m ready to don a summer dress and go to more.

While watching the families and friends from across the nation and many foreign countries, beaming with pride, showering their loved ones with flowers, balloons, hugs and kisses, I casually mentioned to my husband and some of our daughter’s friends that I could become a professional graduation-goer. Send me there, and I’ll sit through all the names being read, clap, cheer, and cry for your loved one.

Ok, kidding aside, I do love the traditions of academia. I love seeing the faculty wearing their colorful robes, hats, and hoods representing the many disciplines. I love the parade of banners. I love the music (in New Orleans, it was jazz. Even Pomp & Circumstance was played by a jazz band), I love standing for the national anthem, and singing along, despite being way off key, and even pretending to know a school’s alma mater song.

The graduates represent such hope and promise for the future that’s now in their well-educated heads, hands, and hearts. At Tulane, each school has its own smaller ceremony- -we attended business on Friday and law on Saturday. At the unified graduation, for all schools, undergraduate and graduate, we sat sky high in the Superdome. Apple’s Tim Cook gave the commencement address and charged the graduates with solving climate change. Congressman John Lewis was among those receiving honorary degrees. The school president introduced him as “the essence of an American hero.” After the hood was draped on his shoulders, the crowd stood in ovation.

Then there’s Robert F. Smith. While delivering the commencement address at Morehouse College, the billionaire technology investor announced he would be paying off all the graduates’ student debt, amounting to about $40 million. The nearly 400 graduates of the historically black college in Atlanta couldn’t believe what they heard, then erupted in cheers.

Smith, who’d already pledged $1.5 million to the school, asked the recipients to “pay it forward.”

Giving these students opportunities to pursue their passions without debt can only help our nation solve so many problems. Let’s continue to seek equity in education. Imagine what the future can look like.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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4 Responses to Graduation Gratitude

  1. The Happy Book Blog. says:

    Such a lovely post and congratulations to your daughter. You must be very proud, all her hard work as paid off. 🎉🎉🎉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely article. Your enthusiasm is catching! My son let me know he’d got his Masters in Computer Science by posting it on Facebook last Sunday. Engineers. No social skills… 🙂 It was a thrill just the same.


  3. says:



    Von: cyclingrandma Gesendet: Montag, 20. Mai 2019 17:13 An: Betreff: [New post] Graduation Gratitude

    cyclingrandma posted: ” Having just returned from our daughter’s graduation (she received a JD & MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA), I’m ready to don a summer dress and go to more. While watching the families and friends from across the nation and ma”


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