Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gonzaga University Graduate Commencement

Hi Colleagues, Friends, Family, Neighbors, + Fans,

I immensely and thoroughly enjoyed and am pleased to share Commencement at Gonzaga University for my MA in Communication and Leadership Studies on May 7, 2011.  Enjoy the following pixel-roll and montage, followed by my reflections, of this important event in my life, the excitement of which caused my hand to shake at times so I tried hard to hold the camera steady!  Montage includes behind the scenes footage, invocation, President's address, bag pipe music, and photography:

Graduate Commencement (above images)
Learn more about my Graduation experience and transition, including my Residences and initial visit to campus in 2009.  Access my thesis, which explored fear of death in end of life care giving contexts via photographs and poems that I produced on this blog.  Follow my trail at Gonzaga, including my "True Zag" nomination for Fr. Jacobson, my health and community profile, my name in the graduate candidate registrar list (pg. 15), my name in the approved list of research theses and projects for the academic vice-president (pg. 1), and my communication audit voted exemplary paper by faculty.  So yes, I studied at Gonzaga and made a marvelous time!  What am I doing now?  Learn about my ideas for reform in health care and education.  Visit my networking and consulting channels, and access my resume, purpose statement, and writing sample.  

A Program<=>The People<=>Support

I walked "out of sequence" since I graduated in December 2010.  I wanted to have finished my work before walking.  While I'm mindful of my goals in moving forward, I reflected that I succeed because of people.  Yes, I work hard with passion to realize my calling, but I succeeded at Gonzaga in large part to the support, encouragement, critique, and creative freedom that the faculty allowed and embedded in the program design.  This support extends post-graduation, such as the Career Trek I participated with in January.  At commencement, I appreciated most the overwhelming, affirming, and inspiring sense of community with my colleagues and peers turned friends.  I'm glad to know so many people in my line.  I'm not losing Gonzaga; I'm ever a Zag with a network of friends, and when I befriend, I do so for life.  To that end, I continue my relationship with the program, such as at the SU/GU Leadership Conference, and want to support the program's success via my vocational pursuits.

3 Cheers, 14 Bagpipe Players, 1 Stadium

We realized our intent and gathered in one place to celebrate our success, a valuable leadership behavior (Kouzes & Posner, 2003), the energy of which only surpassed by the excitement I felt walking into a cheering stadium with the Angus Scott Pipe Band playing.  The band reminded me of Grandma, a key participant in my thesis and who prided her clan via marriage. 

Happy People, Happy Times

I felt happy connecting with family, colleagues, and friends.  My family traveled to Spokane and treated us to dinner at Taaj Indian Cuisine Friday night, and then we enjoyed a dorm-like party complete with treats in my parents' hotel room that evening.  It had been 10 years since we traveled together.  Our hotel provided easy access to downtown and was clean and quiet.  We arrived in Spokane early, and so ventured to Calypsos, a favorite cafe in Couer d'Alene, and toured Manito Park.

Hold-Up the Line if You Can

I shook hands with President McCulloh, another crowning moment for me, as I've wanted to meet Dr. McCulloh for some time.  I held up the line as I often do, but my seat buddy and I walked back to our seats together.  I said hello and thank you to event organizers who had emailed us months in advance.  I felt relieved to share this moment having missed my undergraduate commencement; finally, as a family, with friends and colleagues, including faculty, we saw me prance proudly down the aisle.  In other words, savor the moment.

President's Address

President McCulloh completed his first year as president of Gonzaga, which gave him the opportunity to deliver the keynote address at commencement.  Three themes stood out to me in Dr. McCulloh's keynote address:  achievement is won in small part by the adversity overcome to achieve it (1), inevitable change brings a sense of fear with the uncertainty offset by the hope graduates imbue in their predecessors (2), and continue Gonzaga's tradition to reflect and learn as situated in dialectical tension, or learning from the diverse and seemingly divergent virtues, ideas, beliefs, and experiences that people share (3).  

Achievement is measured in no small part by the nature of adversity 
one has endured along the way.
~ President Thayne McCulloh

His speech resonated with me given my research interests and journey to enroll and successfully complete this fabulous program at Gonzaga.  His emphasis on hope encouraged me in my transition and agreed with The Clan Ross Motto, Spem Successus Alit, or "Success Nourishes Hope."  

The Why and How We Do what We Do

The event, as Dr. McCulloh observed, precipitated some anxiety.  That anxiety reminded me to be conscientious, courteous, and gracious.  Conscientious of the happy time, courteous of others, and gracious in my speech.  As my friend Kash reminded us over our hot brews at Atticus, what we do, we do unto the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17; 23-24Prov. 16:3).  While I failed at times in these arenas, I'm grateful for how this ritual contributed to my sense of passage, community, friendship, family, overcoming adversity, honor, privilege, accomplishment, happiness, and transition.  When you cross your respective stage in life, remember to shake with your right hand, say hello and thank you, grip the diploma with your left, flip and switch your tassel, after which enjoy the banquet with your circle of friends and faculty, and above all, smile and enjoy the memories!

Congratulations Graduates!
Applause to Our Supporters!
Go Zags!

Part of my Gift from my School! I drink tea from this mug! (above)

Still want more celebration?  Enjoy Gonzaga's Graduate Commencement Video [I'm at 1:36:44]:

I "Heart" Gonzaga! 

Kindly, and Group Hug!


Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2007). The leadership challenge (4th ed.).  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


President's address by Dr. Thayne McCulloh.  Invocation by Stephen R. Kuder, S.J, Rector, Gonzaga Jesuit Community & Associate Professor, Religious Studies.  Portraits by James Rosko or Dan C..  Audiovisual support courtesy James Rosko, Dan & Maria C., Nicole & Uriah, Chrisann & Tania.  National Anthem sung by The Big Bing Theory, Gonzaga's A Cappella Group.  Music by Angus Scott Pipe Band.  Thank you Christie Fierro for Gonzaga's Video link!  Intermedia montage (cc) Dena Rosko.  A Text and Pixels Production.

Special Thanks

Thanks to Gonzaga Faculty, Staff, Colleagues, President McCulloh, and Student Speaker Sarah Medary!  Thank you family for celebrating with me, Kevin for cheering my name, and Sherry, Monique, and Brandy for being with me from start to finish.  I love you all.  I remain profoundly grateful for my experience and passionate about my calling and work.  

In Living Story

Grandma Adeline McIntyre (above 2)