Saturday, May 8, 2010

two years...

So, it's just about two years since I got the job offer from Misnomer U. The campus looks very much as it did when I interviewed; it is the season of magnolias and long slow spring evenings. The fountains drip gently, and the graduating seniors pose in front of fantastic Victorian buildings with their towers and balconies. I fell in love with this place at this time of year. I would have accepted a job offer from almost anywhere, of course, but it was nice to feel that it came from a school I could love.

Today was my first graduation, since I was at Kalamazoo last year. It was nice. Everyone gripes about graduation, but I like the solemnity and ceremony of it, and I'm secretly fond of wearing my robes and hood. It made me feel like I was looking at our campus with fresh eyes again, and finding that the gloss hadn't quite worn off after all, in spite of everything I know now about budget cuts and internal politics and assessment madness and crumbling admissions standards. There's a deeper truth and value underneath it all, and it will endure long after we've forgotten about these ephemera.

I believe in universities. I do. (It would be nice if American society in general, or at least the state higher education board, believed in them with the same fervor, but tonight I am just glad that I have a job I believe in.)

And we have a damned fine crop of graduating seniors in the English department this year -- three of the nine seniors who completed honors theses were ours (four, actually, if you count the double major who did his honors work in a different field), and we've got several others graduating with various flavors of cum laude, including the one student in the graduating class with a perfect 4.0. Good for them. Good for the humanities, in general.