The newest crop of counselors and art therapists from Southwestern College had its commencement on November 7, 2015 at the James A. Little Theater at the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe. It was a beautiful ceremony unlike any other I have attended, and being a former college professor myself, I have seen quite a few!
Gone was the pretension. Gone was the boredom, pomp, and circumstance usually associated with graduation ceremonies. Gone was the customary caps and gowns and academic regalia that separates people into varying classes of academic achievement. It was impossible to tell who had a Ph.D. or who had a Masters degree. What was present was a sense of oneness and gratitude. It was a perfect way to honor the transformations the students (and I suspect the faculty, as well) had experienced in their time at the school, and also the growth that had sprouted from each journey. Unlike other commencement ceremonies, this one honored the process of the individuals matriculating. Each student took her or his turn at the podium to say whatever words that were being felt at the moment. It was such a refreshing celebration that honored each participant equally and really put the focus on the students. In short, it was perfectly SWC!
Jason Holley, one of the professors at the school, gave a wonderful address to the graduating class where he used Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey” as a metaphor for the journey the students had been on, and the ones they are about to take as they leave the familiar world of academia and start their journeys into the next part of their lives. I had the honor of recording his address and would like to share it with you. I hope you find it to be as inspiring as I did. Here is Jason’s talk in its entirety.
And please join me in congratulating our graduating class of 2015!