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Congratulations Are In Order

By Vincent Lewis

It is that time of year. Students have packed up and are heading home, faculty have gotten their grades in, and a whole new group of graduating seniors have earned the title of UD Alumnus. This past weekend we celebrated four in-person commencement ceremonies at UD Arena. As a Marshal, I had the opportunity to participate in all four undergraduate ceremonies including my daughter’s, who graduated Cum Laude with a BFA in Graphic Design. At the School of Business ceremony, I celebrated the achievement with more than 40 of our Entrepreneurship Majors and their families.

Although I have not spent my entire career in academe, as this is a second career for me, I still love much of the formality and tradition of our ceremonies with commencement being my favorite. Commencement marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, a new chapter that is yet to be written, the beginning of a new race forward along an uncharted course. It is one of the most important celebrations on campus, marked with excitement and trepidation, laughter, and tears.

I have shared many hugs and high-fives with the young men and women I have worked with over the years as they achieve what they set out to do. It is a feeling like no other. Having an opportunity to play a small part in helping them achieve their goal brings a sense of joy that one cannot describe. Being there to celebrate this right of passage with them is one of the single best “perks” of my role as Director of the Crotty Center.

This year’s ceremony had a much deeper meaning. It is worth repeating that this group of seniors has experienced a senior year like no other. They have had a front-row seat to one of the most significant global events in our lifetime, certainly the most significant health crisis in 100-years. We often speak of ambiguity in entrepreneurship, but this year’s graduating seniors have spent the last 14-months living it. From the immediate transition to online classes this past spring to face-to-face and hybrid online courses this year. There has been no standard. We have all been learning how to navigate the challenges together. Despite these challenges, the bonds that form between students and faculty are still strong as ever, and the yearning to try to hold on to them for one last moment is much stronger than years past.

Despite this yearning, it is with no small amount of joy that all of us in the Crotty Center congratulate our 2021 graduating seniors. We share the joy of your achievement and a little sadness at seeing you go. We find solace in the thought that now we will get to bear witness to see how this exciting new chapter plays out and see the course each of you charts as you race forward. So it is with slight trepidation and a lot of joy that we here in the Crotty Center congratulate you all and say, “Ready, Set………..Go” Good Luck!
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