June 2004

Last weekend, my older son graduated from college. My family and I attended three days of non-stop festivities, heard several truly inspiring speeches, met many fascinating people, attended concerts and receptions, and ate way too much delicious food (even the fare in the college dining halls was surprisingly good). I took dozens of photos, and of course have innumerable memories in my mind of my son, his friends, and the events surrounding the graduation. There were somber moments, imbued with the rich history of the university, as we celebrated its 303 rd commencement. There was also a playful exuberance as the graduates celebrated the culmination of rigorous studies and learning with a weekend of fun. There were tears of joy and pride as families watched their children, so changed during these last four fleeting years, accept their diplomas.

In our lives, celebrations are one way we commemorate special events, and tradition often dictates what form those celebrations take. Throughout the weekend, I noticed how often tradition was reflected, whether it was in determining who spoke at baccalaureate, in the funny hats donned by the graduates at Class Day, or in the special dessert served at the last dining hall luncheon. The students and their families celebrated with song, speeches, music, prayers, parades, awards, and laughter. From the banal (cleaning out the dormitory room’s four-year accumulation of stuff) to the bittersweet (saying goodbye to beloved deans and professors), the weekend encompassed many emotions for my son. As taxing as all the activities were for an aging introvert, I would not have missed them for the world; they were an integral part of the college experience for the graduates and their families.

Celebrations and traditions can greatly enrich an organization, a family, or a network of friends. What events in your life, or in the life of your company, are causes for celebration? Does your company have certain traditional events that give it a sense of history and connection to its past? I hope that you have the opportunity to participate in many kinds of celebrations this month, and throughout the coming year.

Sharon Keys Seal

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