Wednesday, May 14, 2014

College graduation: A right of passage, academic closure

A BGSU graduate celebrates the end of commencement May 10. (Photo by Lori King/© Toledo Blade)
    College graduation.
    It's a right of passage I wish everyone in the world could experience!
    There's nothing like renting or buying that symbolic black gown, and wearing it down the aisle and across the stage to accept a diploma. Some wear formal wear under it. Others wear flip flops and shorts. One guy during the Bowling Green State University commencement walked across the stage bare foot!
    There's also nothing like securing that tassel to the right side of your head before the ceremony, and then flipping it to the other side near the end of it. Such a small thing really, but that little gesture for so many of the graduates means the end of adolescence, and the beginning of adulthood.
    There's no doubt a college graduation ceremony is a well-earned, shared experience of tears and cheers. It's also bittersweet because graduates are leaving a special place they loved for years, and sometimes hated. They are bidding farewell to friends they've made, and will inevitably lose.
    I was fortunate enough to have graduated from college twice. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in photojournalism from Kent State in 1991, and my Master's of Arts in journalism education, also from Kent, in 2012. Though quite a few people I know chose to not walk, I wouldn't have missed those moments of academic closure for the world!
    As I recently shot yet another graduation ceremony at BGSU for the Toledo Blade, I couldn't help but get teary-eyed and emotional myself as I witnessed the tears and grins on the faces of graduates and their families and friends. It was my pleasure to document that special moment in their lives.
    So, it's in this spirit that I congratulation all of the college graduates who just earned their degrees this weekend. I am proud of you all!
   To view the photo gallery from the BGSU graduation morning ceremony May 10 (and to see the barefoot dude), click here

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