Ah, the month of May has arrived with the glorious signs of spring. The IU South Bend campus is displaying an array of flowers and green trees and the scents of freshly mowed grass. You can feel the anticipation in the air as finals begin and graduation approaches, on May 9th. On that evening, the Ernestine M. Raclin school of the Arts will award 94 students Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Art Education, Masters in Music degrees, and more to one of our largest classes ever. Several students will go forward to prestigious graduate schools, the work force, or a continuation of their careers. All will leave as part of the IU and Raclin School of the Arts family.
Graduation is a special time for me. I have sat through many of them, including my own three, over the past several years. I have always thought of these events as a journey up the ladder to the next rung. I was always met with new challenges upon receiving a degree and I always felt ready for that challenge. There was always a sense of saying goodbye to the past, to friends I had made, to faculty that had taught me, and to situations I encountered as I moved up that rung. There was a sense of accomplishment that I had passed this milestone, but there was also a feeling that no matter how much education I had attained, common sense was still one of the most integral parts of an education that I could have. Common sense and a desire to serve are the two things that make an education whole, and I always appreciated that on my graduation days.
I wish for our students the same thing: common sense in a world that sometimes makes no sense. The ability to think through a situation and use their common sense to find a solution to a problem. Degrees are a great aid in moving yourself forward but common sense will keep you moving in the right direction. The other part is the desire to serve. Money is a necessity that enables us to live comfortably in society, but living to make money alone can make one an empty vessel. Using our talents in service to others can and should be a meaningful experience that gives the individual a sense of worth in a world that sometimes seems worthless. There are many rich but lonely people in the world because they lack the desire of serving others with their talents. Service can be as simple as singing at a nursing home, providing art for a worthy cause, helping a community organization through volunteering, and serving on the various boards and commissions that help make their community a better place. Common sense and service are the two things I hope our graduate take with them as they go into the world. We are proud of the way our students have interacted and served in our community so far. May they inspire others through their aspirations as they continue their climb of personal and professional success.