Monday, October 09, 2006

Rooted in the Past, but Growing

The annual Homecoming weekend was one of those which is sometimes special; sometimes just short of the mark. A portion of the drive, through a country landscape of pastures and small town football which was lit by a full harvest moon, was the high point. Then, we found that our usual hotel was lacking some amenities. The restaurant presented lovely food with many apologies for the much too long delay. And, with this year's focus on football, some old alumni traditions were discarded while new ones were created. The weekend never quite met our expectations. It was simply 'off.'

This year, there was a formal Convocation
for the presentation of classes in reunion -- it tugs the heart-strings to see the joyous faces in classes who have come back to their alma mater for their 50th, 55th and 60th years. The Convocation also recognized this year's group of Outstanding Alumni: an economic developer who has contributed to the growth of his state; a former pastor of the Church-of-the-Year who now works in healthcare; an artist who has co-founded a contemporary art museum; a musician from the Class of '44 who accepted her award in a fabulous pair of red shoes; an educator who emphasizes volunteerisim with his students; and a founding partner of a major Atlanta law firm. This school has a 175 year history of sending students of this caliber into the world. But this year the focus was FOOTBALL!

So I thought back to last year's Homecoming. All of my family was with me as I was named to the Wall of Outstanding Alumni. It was a very special weekend. When I came home I reread the presentation which was made to me by President Gulley last year. (You wil find it here: I realized that although I haven't started a museum or a law-firm, written a best seller or discovered some scientific marvel, I can be pleased to be in the list and can be satisfied with the words. I realized that every year is not a banner year, but my Alma Mater and I go back a long way and we both have a long way to go. . . . I won't be playng football, but I will be trying new things.

The photo: Smith Hall was my dorm in 1961. It stood on this spot in 1861 and overlooked a continually changing Quadrangle. It's precious window which was scratched with initials to check for 'real diamonds' is on display in the alumni house and it's drafty old dorm rooms are now sleek and functional offices and meeting rooms. It's formal parlor hasn't changed.

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