Neither Rain, Nor Wind, Nor Tornado Stops MMU


Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg speaks to the MMU class of 2011.

Well, folks, it was an interesting graduation ceremony.

Mount Mercy University held it’s first commencement exercise as a university at the U.S. Cellular Center today.

What went well: The speakers. The student speaker, an adult evening student named Ann Northrup, made appropriate, entertaining comments.

The longer speech was the keynote address by Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stoneyfield Farms, a major producer of organic yogurt.

Hirshberg noted that many things are amiss in the current relationship between humans and their environment, and he recounted many troubling facts. Unlike many environmental speakers, however, I would say he was mostly upbeat—but he was definitely enjoining the class of 2011 to do what it can to reform the way we think about consumption and our planet.

I don’t recall the exact quote, but one of his lines was something like: “The major source of stress is reality, for those who are in touch with it.”

It was an effective, interesting speech, partly because Hirshberg tailored it to this time and place and clearly spoke directly to the graduating class.

Listening to Hirshberg

Amanda Humphrey, Colette Atkins, Scott Reisinger and Vickly Maloy listen to Gary Hirshberg's speech.

One of his points is the danger of Global Warming, including the increased risk of extreme weather events.

As if to highlight his message, midway through the conferring of degrees, a faint wailing began in the background.

It was warning sirens sounding outside, barely audible in the center. The ceremony was briefly interrupted as the powers that be conferred to determine if The Powers That Be were about to flatten the center.

Apparently, they were not. The commencement re-commenced and everyone graduated without being gone with the wind.

Later, the picnic at MMU was held indoors for the first time in living memory. Clearly, despite our cynicism, the Rapture did happen and the world is coming to an end.

Or, the odds just caught up with us. The Sisters of Mercy are known for being potent prayers and every year their prayers have been answered with good weather—until now. When the speaker was warning of global warming.

I think The Powers That Be agree with Gary, and maybe we ought to listen up.

Anyway, the Times is busy posting graduation coverage. Later Sunday night, May 22, click this link and see our graduation stories.

Good luck, class of 2011. And remember another of Mr. Hirshberg’s points:

Yogurt is always better than camel poop.

More of my photos in Facebook gallery.

Graduation Mass

Graduating seniors (and maybe some graduate students) being blessed at Graduation Mass.

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