Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation 2008

As I mentioned in my last post, I got to be a part of this year’s graduation ceremony…and I don’t mean just showing up because it’s a university event. No, thanks to Dr. Steven Vibbert, this year’s selected faculty speaker, I was actually an integral part of the program.

Dr. Vibbert is a professor in the Eugene Pulliam School of Journalism and specifically teaches undergraduate courses related to public relations. You may remember his name from my blog as Dr. Vibbert is the only professor that invites me to pay a visit to each one of his classes, every semester.

He’s also my dad’s favorite professor from his undergraduate days and it’s easy to see why, especially after I had the pleasure of hearing him “profess” to the graduating class of 2008 on Saturday.

Dr. Vibbert started his speech off with a very valid point. He said to the graduates, “Look around you right now and soak in the feeling that fills this field house. You know what that feeling is? It’s accomplishment. And now look at those around you—at your friends and family and at this proud faculty in their own very spiffy hats behind me, look at all the people who supported you—and who share your sense of accomplishment. Here’s the good part about accomplishment. It is a renewable resource. You’ve earned the good feeling—I’d say the good vibe—of this accomplishment, but you know that having done it once, you can do it again and again. You can achieve this feeling over and over, by doing things as you’ve done here at Butler—the Butler Way--and by sharing in the accomplishments of others as parents and friends in future years.”

I found that to be some great perspective, even from my point-of-view, which is affixed on four legs and about a foot and a half off the ground. However, the crux of his message was based on an acronym…an old trick he uses a lot in his classes.

He told the graduates to use the acronym BLUE to guide them. B for "be flexible," because "change is going to happen to you"; L for "let someone know they made a difference to you; U for "use the front-page test – if you're doing something you wouldn't want everyone to read about on the front page of your hometown newspaper, then don't do it"; and E for "enthusiasm," which they'll need to succeed.

He ended it with, “As I look back on the four points I’ve written: Be flexible; Let someone know they made a difference; Use the front page test; Enthusiasm matters…B.L.U.E. I see that they spell BLUE. I want you to remember BLUE, Butler Blue, to do things the right way—what is sometimes called the Butler Way.

Are these four points really part of what it means to be Butler Blue? Can they in some way connect you all, today and in the future? Are they worth remembering, as I think they are? How could I prove such a statement? How could I make your last class at Butler stay with you?

I have an idea—a friend of yours and mine whom I’ve asked to come to commencement just to make this call.”

This is the part where I made my grand entrance and found my spot on stage next to Dr. Vibbert and the podium, amid the cheers, laughter and clapping. It was quite fun.

Really, I was probably on display for a minute, but like Dr. Vibbert, I think it drove home the point and maybe made that one of the most memorable speeches in all of Butler’s 152 commencement exercises.

In all, the University conferred degrees on 877 students – 275 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 196 from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 185 from the College of Business Administration, 120 from the Jordan College of Fine Arts and 101 from the College of Education.

Dr. Susan Solomon, a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was the keynote speaker. She was part of the group that won the 2007 Nobel Prize for their efforts "to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

I don’t really know anything about that, nor will I pretend to. When it comes to climates, I just know that I’m the sort of breed that pretty much has to live in a temperature controlled environment, thus, I need a very mild climate…i.e. indoors.

Anyway, Dr. Solomon got an Honorary Degree during the ceremony. I did not, however get an Honorary Degree. That’s okay, I’m probably only deserving of an “Ornery Degree.” I know…bad joke.

In other news, fellow Butler Bulldog and IndyCar Series driver, Ed Carpenter, did make the field for the Indianapolis 500 on the first day of qualifying this past Saturday. He will start the 92nd running from the 10th position. Go Ed!
Before I sign off on this post, I want to wish my good friend Kirby the best of luck in Minnesota. His mom graduated on Saturday so I have to bid farewell to my good friend. Thanks for leaving me your purple wading pool too, Kirby! I’ll put it to good use like I did my blue one last year.

Bye Kirby…I’ll never forget the great times we had together!

Blue II

No comments: