Junior's officially a graduate. Well, sort of. He couldn't walk the graduate ceremony (lacks one class) but got to walk the undergrad ceremony in the Erwin Center. Really sadistic start time for a bunch of computer science geeks. Students had to be there at 0700 for an 0800 ceremony. Since Stephen had originally been set to walk the graduate ceremony, his name wasn't in the program, but he DID get to walk. Sound system sucked. We couldn't hear the dean making her comments and barely heard the names getting announced. We did not spot Stephen on the floor until they announced his name. We were kinda perplexed on the order of the students - not sure what system they were using to recognize students, but it was definitely not alphabetical. We figured it was just another way to "Keep Austin Weird".
I did make the evening university wide commencement hoop-tee-do. Nice ceremony but the closest we got was Littlefield fountain (about 200 yards away). They had the upper areas pretty much roped off. The entire upper and lower plaza was packed with people. Looked a bit like a Mardis Gras celebration but with a bit more Burnt Orange and less boobage. Had one of our senators as speaker. From our vantage point, you could not see the mall area where all the graduates were sitting, but the university had erected several giant projection screens throughout the plaza. I was told that, unless you had a specific ticket to the seating area (not easy to acquire) or got there 4 hours early, you were pretty much stuck with the streets. The streets that run up to to main tower were filled with folding chairs so that people could see the procession of graduates and the ensuing fireworks. The whole thing started late 2000 and ran until 2130 when the fireworks went off. Since I hail from the rival school, I tend to see things in a different shade (maroon), but I will admit the fireworks show was pretty darn good, for that Austin crowd. Lots of explosions and gianormous star clusters being shot off the top of the tower. Of course, seeing how that entire area tends to lean on one certain direction, I am sure there were people all around Austin complaining about the noise or mayhem. Blowin' stuff up and setting things on fire is more of an Aggie thing. Of course, I kept wondering how "Earth friendly" all those fireworks were.
I could go on about the festivities we attended or celebrations we enjoyed or the congratulations passed our way, but this wasn't about us. It was Stephen's time to shine, his turn in the spotlight, his achievement. As much as we enjoyed our short time this weekend, it was mixed. He is finishing up one chapter in his life and on the threshold of a new adventure. One part of me is happy to see the last tuition check cut. One part of me is proud.
Terri is way better at verbalizing it than me. Kids grow up too fast and they are on the horizon of their adults life and you want to hold on as long as you can.
|Ready to conquer the world|
|Gathering of the tribes before the grand procession|
|Fireworks from the top of the university tower|