Richard received his diploma from Northwestern University last night, and it was a memorable evening for many reasons. He got the job done in four years, got very good grades from a school where academic performance still means something, and contributed to the school community through his work as a radio DJ and as a columnist for the campus newspaper. It is important to reflect on such accomplishments when graduation day comes — it is one of the reasons that the day exists.
In the future, when our family remembers the day, I think we will recall three things in particular. First, Wynton Marsalis made a valiant attempt to provide a meaningful address to the graduates, despite looming threatening weather conditions that required the entire ceremony to be abbreviated, and I think he succeeded. His gave the first page and last page of his prepared remarks, and still managed to deliver thoughts that were positive and well-suited to the occasion — and punctuated by a sweet little bit of trumpet work.
Second, we didn’t manage to escape the rain and storms that rolled through Evanston all day. The school administration made the call to have the ceremony outside at the football field, and as soon as the last speaker sat down the skies opened. We all got soaked waiting for the shuttle buses to return us to the downtown area. This article says the rainfall set a record for the day, and I am not surprised. You know it was a real gullywasher when there is so much rain they have to close beaches.
Finally, we ended the night with an exceptionally good meal at Va Penzione, a restaurant we have been hearing about, and trying to dine at, for four years. It was worth the wait. The food was excellent, the wine was superb, and the company and conversation were wonderful. Although we had been soaked to the skin at variouis points during the day (and will forever curse the bus driver who bypassed our shuttle bus line as we waited in monsoon-like conditions) it will be a day that Kish and I always will remember with pride.