Soggy day, bright future
by Andrew Shurtleff
& Sciences graduate Joshua Abraham says hello to friends
amidst a sea of umbrellas as constant rain fell over the graduation
ceremony on May 18.
a day soured by leaden clouds and chilling rain, members of the
Universitys Class of 2003 hooted, hollered and hugged each
other to spread their own cheer over Final Exercises on May 18.
of family members, friends and relatives huddled on the Lawn
with many more watching from remote sites around Grounds
to celebrate degrees earned by more than 5,600 graduates.
Paul Kevin Hanna of Covington, it was a day to receive his masters
degree in physics education. For his 4-year-old son, it was the
perfect day to jump in puddles. The boys yellow slicker
kept him partially dry, but his antics in the rain made a muddy
mess of his shoes and pants.
clean him up later, but for now he might just as well enjoy himself,
said the youngsters mother.
mood throughout the morning was buoyant despite the weather and
changes in plans. University officials decided early Sunday to
hold diploma exercises at indoor sites after the mornings
ceremony on the Lawn.
six remote-viewing sites, which featured a live broadcast on large
screens, proved popular. The first customers for the Chemistry
Building remote site were in their seats by 7:45 a.m., and the
auditorium quickly filled. Many people kept track of the hardier,
outdoor members of their party via cell phone. After one such
conversation, a woman shook her head, noting that her younger
children would probably be sick in time for their school exams,
and returned to her dry, warm seat.
Ruffner Auditorium, the crowd stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance
and sing the national anthem. They groaned as they saw people
splashing through puddles during the procession from the Rotunda.
They cheered as President John T. Casteen III called out the schools
of their graduates.
of family members and friends huddle on the Lawn May 18 to
celebrate degrees earned by more than 5,600 graduates.
man standing near the door said, I just saw my son! I saw
him walk down the Lawn. That probably wouldnt have happened
if we were out there with all those umbrellas.
outside, U.Va. Police Lt. Vincent Jones said the rain presented
challenges but no problems. Were getting the graduates
graduated and going home happy, he said. The rain
wont put a damper on our efforts to make a nice experience
for the families whove come out for this.
said he didnt mind working in any weather, rain or shine.
I have a good raincoat and a hat, so Im all set,
the mass gathering was spared lightning and thunder, the rumblings
of war were vivid in the address by keynote speaker Mortimer M.
86, recalled his graduation from the U.Va. School of Law in 1940,
when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke in Memorial Gymnasium
about the threat to freedom posed by Nazi forces overrunning Europe.
That ceremony, too, was marred by inclement weather, and Roosevelt
made the moment even more dramatic by declaring, On this
10th day of June 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck
it into the back of its neighbor.
went on to enlist in the Navy, serve as a beachmaster on fiercely-contested
Omaha Beach during the D-Day landing in Normandy and, after the
war, combine a distinguished career in private practice and public
service. During the Kennedy administration, he was commissioner
of the Internal Revenue Service, and later he served on the U.Va.
Board of Visitors.
of the Curry School of Education celebrate as their degrees
are awarded during the rain-soaked graduation ceremony on
key lessons came out of his war experience, Caplin told the graduates.
First, avoid fixed and rigid plans. Instead, allow for flexibility,
innovation and possible change. But always hold true to your personal
be willing to accept risk when necessary as you move toward your
goals. ... Simply put, have faith in your choices and be at the
ready to risk challenge as well as change. You will grow in strength
as you do.
newspaper headlines, Caplin stressed three challenges that define
the world facing graduates: balancing new needs for national security
while protecting constitutional liberties, fighting world hunger
and addressing the financial demands that accompany increased
life expectancy. While confronting those challenges, Caplin stressed,
graduates should remember Jeffersons insistence that each
person owes a debt of public service to the country by sharing
the responsibilities of a democratic society.
message complemented Saturdays valediction address by Dr.
L.D. Britt, a U.Va. alumnus who now is chairman of the Department
of Surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
too, recalled starting his career amid rumblings of war, but the
Vietnam War was indefensible, he said. Equally indefensible
over the years have been the business leaders and public stewards
whose greed and self-interest have gone toward supporting lavish
lifestyles at the expense of the public trust.
urged the students gathered in University Hall, where the exercises
were moved because of the weather, to trust their judgment, even
in tough times.
one is immune from hardship, not even a Cavalier, but it will
be judgment that will help you keep that Not For Sale
sign always in front of the door of character.
service was marked by the presentation of the class gift, a check
for $54,936 presented to Vice President and Provost Gene Block.
In addition, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards were presented to
students Michelle Morse and Andrew Bond and to Sylvia Terry, associate
dean of U.Va.s Office of African-American Affairs.
Class of 2003s wet clothes will eventually dry, but their
experience at U.Va. will have a lasting impact.
student Norman Smith, who earned his bachelors degree in
history, said his years at U.Va. have been amazing and eye-opening.
Hailing from Kulleoka, Tenn., a small town where only 7 percent
of his high school class went to college, he said his U.Va. education
has given him vision for his life and career and has
broadened his mind to the world and his possibilities in the world.
plans to pursue a career in music and is headed to Nashville -
but not country music, he said. He said he learned
here that no matter what my goals and aspirations, I have
the ability to do the things I put my mind to.
Hamilton and her family drove down from Warrenton Sunday to see
her son, John P. Hamilton, awarded undergraduate degrees in foreign
affairs and Spanish. With water streaming off her umbrella, she
said the rain was a shame, but looked forward to another
chance at a dry day on the Lawn.
do it again in three years, she said. Thats when John
is expected to graduate from U.Va.s Law School.