Image for post
Image for post

As I reflect on commencement, the 15th one I have presided over, I thought I would explain a couple of my traditions. The first one I explained at the baccalaureate (above with Jazmin). I normally attend the graduation rehearsal but we were at City Hall for a presentation, so I used part of my greetings to give instructions. When I give the diploma I have my arm around the graduate so we are shoulder to shoulder. From a practical perspective it helps ensure the picture looks good. It is familial rather than sterile.

But I also told the graduates it was a reminder that although they are leaving Dillard they are always part of us, and that we have to stand with them. In fact, we all have to have people with us when we are in the “real world” because life has its challenges. So it is just a subtle reminder that although they have a degree in hand ready to begin a new journey, they are not alone.

Image for post
Image for post

I already posted about the senior shout outs. I have carried on this tradition I saw at Albany State University as done by President Portia Holmes Shields. It made the ceremony a little more personal, so I have continued to do it as well. You can read the stories here:

Adrienne, pictured above, tweeted about her family’s response to the shout outs.

Image for post
Image for post

The final tradition I also got from Dr. Shields. She always allowed faculty or staff members who had children graduating from Albany State to present the degree to their child. Again, always a special moment so I have done the same. We had 2 this year and it was special for both families.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

The little things still matter. A lot.

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store