My sister’s graduation, with President Barack Obama as the speaker. From May 5, 2013.
My last event in the midwest before taking off for California was a quick swing through Columbus, to see the family before taking off, leave my car for my sister for the summer, and, most importantly, to celebrate my dear sister’s graduation from Ohio State. This year’s festivities included a very special guest, who added a lot of ado and hassle to the graduation process, but ultimately made the event a very memorable one: Barack Obama. With the President speaking, of course, there was a lot of security, which added a lot of waiting around, since we had to be in position a little early. Not to mention Secret Service! Ohio State does actually a really nice job with their ceremonies, and makes them surprisingly efficient, given the fact that some 8,000 people graduated that day. They only announced the PhD recipients by name — the rest were done afterwards. The sight was really quite impressive:
Obama’s speech was practically made for me (except, of course, it was made for them) — above all, he stressed the concept of participation and perseverance as critical components of good, effective citizenship. For those who don’t know, citizenship is precisely the concept I plan to use in my eventual dissertation on the Soviet Union — and the fact that my parents even admitted it was a good speech suggests it fit the bill nicely. Citing George W. Bush among others, he did a nice job being non-partisan and leaving the graduating class with a message perfectly in keeping with Ohio State’s motto: “Education for Citizenship.”
After the ceremony, a little sunburnt and tired, we finally got to gather to celebrate our graduates — my sister and her boyfriend, Kevin. Now both graduated and already employed in Madison, their new residence.
And of course, the requisite family pictures:
With my parents:
Of course, one of the best parts of graduation was the time we got to spend as an entire family. All of us, in fact, made it for the graduation — even those who came in from far away — Ruth from Minnesota, Daniel and Lila from Wisconsin. My grandmother and I (separately) from Michigan. A whole house full of Whittingtons! My cousin Alex also headed over from Pittsburgh. Debbie, our old housekeeper, and Steve, her husband, drove in from Chicago! So many people!
And after we had done sufficient picture-taking, we headed back to the house for a lovely graduation party for Lydia and Kevin. Here’s a lot of the family.
My sister’s gift to my parents, a thank you for their years of support and generosity.
A lovely day to celebrate a great accomplishment. So proud of my sister — not least for her newest adventures as a resident, as of less than a week ago, of Madison, Wisconsin, where she’s settling in at a new job. And for Kevin, too, who also joined the growing Whittington-associates in Wisconsin (though let’s be serious: Lila started the trend). He, too, started a new job in a new city, and I couldn’t be more happy for both of them. We’ll close with a picture of them — with Kevin’s mother. Congratulations, Lydia and Kevin!