Well, it has been a food fiesta for three of the past five days. And today’s event was the emotional highlight, as MMU not only said farewell to two long-serving faculty members, but it was also sweet to see so many familiar faces from past years in Flaherty Community Room.
It’s that end-of-semester season of receptions. It’s sort of a mini-Christmas season, where it seems practically every other day brings some food-filled fete marking some important event or another—except, since it’s not December, the weather is better and the food is, too. Not that I mind Christmas treats, mind you, nor the Christmas season—it’s just that Christmas seems inexorably tied to heavy, sweet foods, while spring receptions favor more savory options.
Food, it seems, is a key part of any celebration. We eat our feelings. I must feel a lot.
Anyway, it began last Thursday at the Multicultural Fair, one of my favorite annual MMU events because it features our international students and others who bring lessons from other cultures—and, more on theme—cultural foods to MMU’s University Center.
In past years, family has shown up and we’ve lingered at the fair. I didn’t have that luxury this busy year, and kind of had to eat and run, but I sure did not mind eating.
Friday was an open house at Kirkwood Community College for its renovated media spaces. Of course, there was good food—sandwiches and wraps and cheesecake. I had to skip Club Friday at MMU to attend the Kirkwood event, so it’s a good thing there was food!
It was nice to see their facilities. Their new newsroom is arranged very much like the MMU Times, with computers on outside walls and a meeting table in the middle. They have more computers—but not a lot more—and a bigger table, but I suppose they need that. We have a bit more cozy things like a couch and a window and a fern with a gnome in it, so I think we win. But, they win too, with not only a nice newsroom, but a very large Mac computer lab and very, very nice broadcast studio plus multiple editing rooms.
I felt like a celebrity at a Hollywood event—Kirkwood even offered a gift bag. I came away with a handy Kirkwood tote, pen, flash drive and legal pad holder. I had to work five years at MMU before I got a now out-of-date “Mount Mercy College” legal pad cover—at Kirkwood, I just had to show up, eat food and take a tour. Winning.
I also ran into Corey and Ryan, two ex-Times editors who had graduated from Kirkwood. Enjoyed the visit with two of my former students.
Anyway, the party season continued at MMU today, with what is, so far, the “big” event. Dr. Nancy Brauhn, a professor in my wife’s department (nursing), and Dr. Joe Givvin, a philosophy professor, are both retiring this year. A reception was held in their honor.
They both have more than 30 years of experienced—in fact, both began teaching at MMU, then MMC, while I was an undergraduate at Marycrest College in Davenport. My, how time flies. It was nice to see them both and to hear them honored—it was a very well done event, I think, including excellent party food and an open bar—yes, your garden correspondent had a few glasses of wine. I don’t think I was weaving too badly on the ride home, however. (Joking—I only had two glasses and I ate a lot, I think I was legally OK to bike.)
Anyway, in addition to the well-earned accolades for Nancy and Joe, the event brought lots of guests to MMU. Their families were very cool to see, for example.
But for me, the thrill was seeing familiar faces that I don’t run into that often. Bob McMaster was there, as was Bob Naujoks. I saw John Rogers and Bulane Daughtery and Will Kirkland and Dale Harrison and Jay Shuldiner. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, and I hope I got all the names correct—but it was grand to see so many familiar faces of those who’ve retired, but who came back for this party.
The food was fine, too, but the fellowship was heartwarming.
As it happens, Audrey had RSVP’d for us, but I forgot that the retirement reception was scheduled this afternoon. A chance encounter with Dr. Christopher Blake in Warde Hall woke me up in time to attend.
And I’m glad I did.