Congratulations, we are here. From long nights, study sessions, and practices we have come. Soak in every ounce of relief, joy, support, and celebration these moments have to offer, because we have made it together.
In moments like these, I am reminded we are united by so much more than the gowns we are wearing, the tunnels underground or the chimes above. We are united by something far less tangible and yet just as real – the roots we have grown. Some of us have grown roots in the practice rooms and stages of Wine and Cordier. Some have grown roots in the spacious lounges of Admin or in the corners of the Chapel. And when it comes to the Science Center, some of us have just implanted ourselves there and called it home.
281 of us have grown roots in different buildings, offices, study corners, and dorms. As unique to us as our roots are, they have grown in a common ground. With a gentle profundity, Manchester asked us questions. Sometimes welcoming-in a gently profound question meant uprooting ourselves from places that no longer served us, shaking ourselves around a bit, and wondering how, where, if ever our roots would grow again. They have. Our roots have been welcomed here, and they have grown. From the rich earth at Manchester, we have become our more authentic selves.
The richness of this ground did not happen on its own. The earth has been tended by ancestors and elders of this place, professors who keep the light on for us, community members who are there for us, and administrators who move with us. We are so grateful.
As we move from this place, I invite you to keep a couple roots in Admin, the Chapel, the Mall, Calvin Ulrey, the athletic fields, Clark, Winger, the Academic Center. The ground is deep and wide and rich enough to hold us all. And in these very moments of celebration and transplanting, when we feel pulled from the ground and shaken around a bit, we know that love surrounds us still. Can't you feel it? Bodies abuzz with elation, anticipation, unknowing, sadness, grief, affection. On a day like today, it's so strong. The ground is deep and wide and rich enough to hold us all – here, and wherever we again invite our roots to grow.