Tag Archives: class of 2011

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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Reflections of 2011


G bell

Chapel lights reflected in a G bell. I play this G and an A in the MMU bell choir.

For no particular reason, I think mostly because I had the photos and needed an excuse to use them, I posted pictures of the bells I play in the Mount Mercy University bell choir on my bike blog.

We—the bell choir—rang at graduate student hooding Friday. Today was honors convocation, commencement Mass, graduation and picnic are tomorrow.

Well, the Friday ringing was OK. I got lost for a time in one song, but tried to at least look calm, and was “with it” for most of the concert—particularly the biggest challenge, the number we perform with the MMU choir.

I hope the ringing goes well—but it’s kind of nice that we’re playing at graduation. It means that the focus isn’t on us.

It’s on the people who have earned degrees. The young women and men starting their careers, the older people who’ve come back to the university for their BA or Master’s degrees, the adult evening learners working for a better job and to provide more for their families.

Graduation 2011 feels a little scary. Nobody knows where the economy is headed, and it’s a tough year to enter the labor force with a newly minted MMU degree.

Take heart, class of 2011. It’s not the best of times, but at least it’s also far from the worst of times. Getting the career kick started can take time. By earning your MMU sheepskin, you’ve positioned yourself to live a different kind of life, but that life doesn’t automatically open before you—you still have to push and think and watch for opportunity. Opportunity never knocks. It whispers.

In the Journalism class of 2011, one student is from Germany, one from California, one a local girl whose aspirations are taking her in a non-journalistic direction. I wish them all the best and wonder where the winds of fortune will take them.

One of the best students this year isn’t a member of the class of 2011—Cindy doesn’t graduate until December and will walk the stage with the class of 2012. She has already started working on her future—instead of finding a job, she’s creating one as the owner of her own news outlet.

Well, scary. But, well, cool.

The class of 2011 will do many things. Students earning degrees today will have to be ready to change course, change jobs, learn new skills and keep moving.

Good luck to you all. And for you, I ring my bells.

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