I’m a full-time faculty member at Orange Coast College, and part of my duties are to attend graduation at the end of the spring semester. The first time I attended graduation as a faculty member was very odd; I had been used to being the student, the one walking across the stage and getting the diploma, but now I was one of those oddly dressed professors walking in first.
My role is to be a shiny prop who walks in and out of the arena all seriously and academically, but does nothing else other than be quiet and add a hint of retro medieval fashion to the day. It’s an easy job, and sometimes the speeches are even decent. But I’m really there for the students: they’ve worked hard to get where they are, so the least I can do is show up and add a touch of formality to their big day. And it’s always fun, as the students’ excitement is highly contagious. This year I knew more than a dozen students walking across the stage, and I had a great time chatting with them after the event.
This graduation was especially nice, as I got to sit next to Tom Garrison, distinguished professor of Marine Science at OCC. Tom’s been teaching at OCC for 42 years, and is something of a legend on campus. He’s an incredible instructor, author of one of the most widely-used marine science textbooks, and a lover of all things scientific. He’s also retiring this year, so it was an honor to share his last graduation ceremony as a full-time faculty member with him.
Best wishes to all of our recent graduates! Go out there and make OCC proud 🙂