After 23 years, there are so many people and moments that come to mind that it is almost impossible to think of a single story. I will say that some of my favorite moments every year are commencements. I have only missed one in the past sixteen years--and that was because I needed to represent UMBC at an off-campus event for Dr. Hrabowski.
I think it is so important to take those moments each year to reflect on what graduation really represents--the hope and aspirations; the feeling of accomplishment; the genuine affection and appreciation shown for those who are "walking" and for those who have supported students along the journey; the slightly jangly nerves of people arriving a few minutes later than anticipated; and the sense of anticipation about moving on to the next of phase of ones life.
I have lined up faculty for the processional and given students bobby-pins to hold their morterboards in place. I've escorted VIPS and brought grandparents to their seats. I've seen the event from the platform, from the wings of the stage, and from the bowels of the Baltimore Arena, and it always makes me feel inspired by the power of education to transform lives, and the ways that the UMBC community can help bring out the best in others.