Graduation is this Saturday. Nobody does it better than Professor Jack Schibrowsky. He has been a marshal at every graduation since I have been at UNLV. I am sure he has been doing it for many years. If you click on the slideshow about the sights and sounds of graduation on the UNLV website, you will here him in the background.
Jack is a bit of an outlier, frankly in more ways than one. Most faculty members see graduation as an obligation not a celebration. If you have been to twenty graduations, it can be a little hard to keep your enthusiasm up. It is a bit like going to a friend’s house for the tenth time to watch three hours of home movies from their most recent vacation. The company is great, but the script, the main characters, and the ending are pretty much always the same.
But at this winter’s graduation, President Smatresk changed the script. Rather than having the faculty march out of the Thomas and Mack, he had us line the corridor of the exit on both sides. He then had the students walk out to the applause of the faculty. Not every faculty member stayed, but the vast majority did. Watching the faces of the students as they went through the corridor with faculty applauding on both sides of them will be my single most enduring memory of my time at UNLV. It was both warm and cool: a great new tradition born.
If you are a faculty member who hasn’t been to graduation in a while, go this year and become part of the line. It will give you a sense of renewal and remind you why we are here. If you are a student smile big—it’s the best thing you can do to thank your favorite professor.