Friday, May 10, 2013

The Incredible Fizz of Graduation

The weeks leading up to graduation are a bit like a bottle of Coke that is getting shaken. Pressure builds and builds to a point where it's almost indescribable if you aren't here. 

Our graduates know exactly what we're referring to here. The experience of putting on that cap and gown for the first time to be handed a college degree is a bit surreal. It's not like high school where you did little more than simply work to survive for four years. No. This represents the culmination of more work than any graduate has ever probably put into any one thing in their entire life.

So it's no surprise that the energy level outside of LETU's Belcher Center on graduation day is electric. Just brushing through the line of graduates before they process into the auditorium, there isn't a frown in the bunch. Just the collective sigh of a job well done combined with the anticipation of all that tomorrow will hold. For many of our residential student graduates, this means new jobs, new cities to call home, new friends, new lives. For our graduates who have come back to school after years of already working and raising families, it often means lifelong dreams coming true and finally being recognized for decades of hard work.

Both of our types of graduates have incredible reasons to be proud. LeTourneau University is hard work. Our professors expect a lot. Degrees here are hard-earned, not simply received. This past weekend, we watched as hundreds of LETU students moved their tassels from one side of their cap to the other. In another 24 hours, we will have a second group of graduates in Houston do the same thing. This symbolic gesture represents so much more than merely which side of your face that your tassel flops on. It is the historic honor that allows the graduate to consider himself in the company of equals with the brilliant men and women who have taught him.

This year, our graduates are heading out into some seriously impressive jobs. For some of them, it means going back to their jobs, but finally being recognized for the brilliance that they bring to their workplaces. For the rest of our student body (including some of our graduates,) this time of year means travel.

Every May, LeTourneau University becomes a spring board for launching students literally all over the globe. As this is being typed, we have students walking in the footsteps of the apostles in the Holy Lands. Our students are on their way to Kenya to fit children into wheelchairs. Our students are on their way to explore Dr. Steve Ayers' homeland of Australia with him. We have a couple of engineering students headed to Mongolia. Our computer science team will be traveling to Russia for the world computer programming championships in June. We have a group of students heading to Spain too.

LeTourneau University has set a goal of reaching every workplace and every nation with the Good News of Jesus Christ and the ingenuity of our incredible students and graduates. At this time of year, as we pop open the Coke bottle that's been shaken all year, we celebrate the awesome blessing that it is to be a part of this incredible university. For moving our tassels from one side to the other is not the end. We've only just popped the lid!

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