Saw Obama at ASU’s Graduation Last Night

May 14th, 2009 | By | Category: All About Me, Politics
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ASU Graduation 2009

Originally uploaded by dr.coop

I was really excited when my friend and colleague Shelley Rodrigo invited me to go to her graduation at ASU last night. I’m not big on crowds or ceremonies. Heck, I didn’t even go to my own graduations for my Master’s at NAU or my doctorate at Nova Southeastern University. I just didn’t want to travel to Flagstaff or Miami, FL and deal with the hassle. So the opportunity to go to Shelley’s was exciting, especially with the added bonus of seeing President Obama speak live. And it was only a hop, skip and a jump away in Tempe.

It only took me 2 hours to get from my house to my seat in Sundevil Stadium. I took the new light rail, and I must say it was very convenient. It did get a little crowded after a few stops though. I must give props to ASU who did a great job of planning such a big event that ran smoothly. They even entertained the poor souls who actually showed up at 3:30pm like their tickets suggested. My hour and a half spent waiting for the main event was quite pleasant despite the fact that I was sitting in the sun and 100+ degrees. It helped that I got to visit with Shelley’s awesome husband and co-author Susan.

I was really surprised by the number of graduates – rumored to be around 9,000. There were so many they didn’t all fit on the infield. They spread up into the stadium seats on the east end of the stadium. I don’t have much experience with university graduations, but I felt a little sad for the undergraduates who were barely recognized for such a big accomplishment for them. I mean I had a better seat than they did, and they didn’t even get to hear their names called. I’m actually thankful for that because we’d still be there if they had. :)

The doctoral grads, which Shelley was a part of, were lucky enough to walk across the stage and shake President Obama’s hand. I had a great vantage point during the speeches, but during this procession they moved further to the right of the stage and I couldn’t see very well. I did happen to capture a decent shot of Shelley shaking Obama’s hand on the big screen however. Sweet. I just kept thinking how cool is that. Only a few people we be able to say they had a similar experience at their graduation.

President Obama’s speech was awesome. The man has a great sense of humor. He handled the whole honorary degree fiasco nicely and with humor, and actually made it a big part of his speech. He agreed with the committee that his body of work is not complete. He said, “There’s always more to do.” “Always more to learn. Always more to achieve.” He urged graduates to continue to complete their own body of work. It was very inspirational. You can watch the speech on YouTube in 3 parts. Part 1 is below.

All in all it was a great event and an experience I’ll remember for some time now. I’m grateful and thankful that Shelley thought enough of me to invite me to join her family in experiencing her graduation. Thanks Dr. Rodrigo and congratulations! Now let’s party. :)

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