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K-State Today

December 20, 2016

From the Provost's Desk

Submitted by Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason

Dear Colleagues,

Anyone agree with me, this semester has flown? I know, I know, we have had a few big things happen during the semester locally and nationally — a contentious national election, the naming of General Richard B. Myers as our 14th president of Kansas State University and the Cubs won the World Series (against the Cleveland Indians—Oh, how I was torn!) But really, wasn't it yesterday that we assembled in Bramlage to welcome new students in our New Student Convocation? Wasn't it last week, we worried about the heat index inside Bill Snyder Family stadium for a home football game? No?

Whatever your time-scale reading, it all becomes clear why we do what we do when we participate in commencement. We see our Graduate School commencement festooned with the many colors and styles of regalia. We see happy new graduates cross the stage with newly minted M.S. degrees or follow the sheer joy of professors hooding their Ph.D. students. President Myers after he gave the commencement address, asked me who was happier — the student or the professor? I answered both, for very different reasons.

Saturday of commencement weekend, I wish for good weather for the graduates and their families, but I don't get to know. Inside the bowels of Bramlage in a "special" locker room I gulp coffee, tweet the pictures I take and yes, wash my hands, repeatedly! As has come to be my tradition, he has not objected yet, I park in Bruce Weber's parking place at 8 a.m. and begin the day with Arts and Sciences. Thank you, Sue Brown, for your challenge to the graduates, given in a husky voice, you prevailed through what had to be a bad cold. The new Ronald Gaches Teaching Awards were given by Ron himself. In Arts and Sciences this year, Rachel Hunt graduated. Those of you who know her are so happy, her diploma given to her by her father Paul Hunt as he did for her two sisters. What you may not know is Rachel returned and sang the National Anthem and Alma Mater for two other commencements! Ah, that voice—what a gift to us!

In Education we heard 2017 Teacher of the Year Jonathan Ferrell challenge the next generation of teachers (who he mentioned would be teaching his children). In Business Administration, we heard Kent Glasscock knock 'em dead with history notes — Don't take me Lord, I am not done! Student speaker Nicholas Ramsey has a future, we will be watching!

In Human Ecology — yep, Rachel sang, we heard from student speaker Tim Turner and Pat Keating challenged the graduates to continue learning. Continue to learn, a theme I heard in John Carlin's strong and compelling address to the graduates in Agriculture. John is the example of continued learning. Emily Beneda inspired us as the student speaker right after him. Was I ever as articulate as these students?

Home stretch — Engineering — a brass quintet. I am such a sucker for brass. Ray Dempsey, VP of BP America used his own experiences to again tell us to always be open to learning. Student speaker Andrew Coleman Ewing linked arms with us on stage and we swayed as we sang the Alma Mater.

In each and every commencement our bagpiper, Terry Ferguson played; the organ sang under the fingers of David Pickering or Stephen Kucera; chairs got changed magically; Alumni Association gifts and programs were put on chairs; and Michelle Langvardt and Kelly Moon worked their 16th year together herding us to the curtain to process. And all the time parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, children and friends of the graduates clapped, yelled and, only occasionally rang cow bells, to celebrate. Each of our graduates has a story, a challenge, a joy unique to them only. Whatever that story, you did it. We, the faculty, staff and administration of Kansas State University congratulate you.

Yes, the semester went quickly, and ended wonderfully. Now time for a bit of a rest. Blessed holidays and a happy new year to all!

April Mason
Provost and Senior Vice President