Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Family ties bringing us together

Last weekend’s commencement ceremonies offered me an opportunity to wear my ceremonial academic regalia, one of many hats I wear as president of Bloomsburg University. And this week brings with it yet another hat, one of I’m also quite familiar with – the hat of an experience traveler.

The majority of my traveling is a result of my duty to BU, representing the university at conferences, alumni events and public speaking engagements to name a few. This time I will be traveling with my wife, Robbie, for personal enjoyment. We're flying to California to visit with our only daughter, who is expecting her third child any day now. It our third granddaughter.

Knowing how exciting it was to see our first two granddaughters, I’m overjoyed to see for the first time the newest member of our family. Being with family is always special, especially at this time of year with spring in full bloom and being days removed from witnessing so many families share in the joy of graduation, some of which were the first for their families. Those are moments that deeply resonate with me and reaffirm my pride of being the university president.

We often talk about the importance of having a strong sense of Husky pride, building new and existing relationships with the local community, faculty, staff, prospective and current students, alumni and friends of the university. This pride is tied together by family, our Bloomsburg University family.

A poignant moment occurred on campus last week that served as a perfect example of this. In the middle of a passing rain storm, a groundskeeper kept busy planting maroon and gold mums on the Academic Quad for our outdoor graduation ceremonies instead of seeking shelter. He could’ve easily taken a break to go inside from the rain, something most of us on campus frantically did.

However, this staff member decided it was more important to him to make sure those beautiful flowers representing our school colors were planted in time than to make sure he stayed dry. These are the little things, which too often go unnoticed, that are the essence of what makes Bloomsburg University a wonderful place of higher education, a place to work and a place to simply be associated with.

As I complete this blog in California, we have conducted our beautiful graduation ceremonies and granted more than 1,350 undergraduate and graduate degrees, and my new granddaughter has yet to arrive. I want to recognize the faculty and staff who made it all work so well in spite of rain leading right up to the Saturday morning ceremony and winds that were the strongest I have ever experienced in Pennsylvania. I particularly want to single out Anita Hakim from the Office of the President for successfully coordinating the entire effort for many years.

Yes these wonderful celebrations of academic success are a tremendous team effort that involves well over one hundred individuals, and I sincerely thank them all, but without Anita’s loving care it would not come off so very well!

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