“We have reached that happy time in the program when…” I think this is Dr. Hitt’s most genuine phrase. He has uttered it with an authentic combination of anticipation and pride at every graduation I have been a part of at UCF. Every time he says it, I can’t help but smile because he seems to relish this moment. It is the validation of his life-long commitment to UCF’s access mission and begins the procession of graduates who walk across the stage in triumph.
This scene repeated itself Saturday, and as I watched Dr. Hitt go through this ritual, I had an idea: A BIG Idea. May will be Dr. Hitt’s final set of graduations. It needs to be just one, not the three or four a semester we usually have, and it needs to be in a full Spectrum Stadium. I say we invite every UCF alum who has graduated in the Dr. Hitt era to attend. We give them one of those Hitt Squad T-Shirts and we pack the place. We show him our gratitude. We make the single most visible, human display of the equation “scale times excellence equals impact” and celebrate the bright future he has given us.
Have Dr. Hitt pass the baton to the next President at the end of the ceremony, and we have our promo video for the next 10 years.
I know Dr. Hitt isn’t going to like this idea. He is too humble. He would never want to make it about him. But it’s not about him. It’s about us. It’s about UCF and what we have become during the Hitt years and it is sure to draw national attention to this next-generation university. It would also be an awesome experience for those May graduates. Having a speaker like Bill Clinton or Bill Gates wouldn’t hurt either.
Don’t tell me it’s too risky–that’s an insult to the “can do” attitude that defines this place. We have almost six months. Let’s get this done.