Monday, May 9, 2011

A Visit to Academia

Sunday afternoon we attended my son’s graduation.  He and 39 others received Master’s Degrees and we couldn’t have been prouder of him.  The entire affair included several hundred other students receiving various Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees.  There was all the pomp and splendor of academics in flowing gowns in a dizzying array of colors with colored cords, medallions, and accoutrements.  I skipped my college graduation ceremony and opted to just attend my Marine commissioning ceremony that afternoon instead.  So my understanding of these events is shallow. 

The speeches that day were standard liberal pabulum.  People who live in academia confuse wisdom with education.  They had no doubt provided these students with a great array of education, but the students weren’t going to gain wisdom until they tried to apply that education in the real world.  The people on the dais bestowing the honors were educated – but wise?  I don’t know.  Many were about my age and I couldn’t help wondering what they were doing while I was training to serve my country – demonstrating their hate for our country no doubt. 

Nothing that the academics said surprised me however the crowd’s response did pleasantly surprise me.  As each graduate’s name was called there were cheers and calls from his or her supporters.  Like me they were all there for a specific graduate or perhaps a group of graduates.  The crowd was silent for the most part unless their graduate’s name was called.  That is until the first the narrator added after his name “ . . . . he has also earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.”  The crowd and the assembled students erupted in applause.  In addition to my distinctive Marine “OOH-Rah!”  There were also a number of army “Hoo-Ah!”  That happened for each of the seven men and women who had been commissioned second lieutenants.  I thought it was wonderful.  The only ovation that was louder was the one for Graduate Young who was the last name called that afternoon. 

The President of the University got up to make his final remarks.  More liberal pabulum for the most part.  Academics must not encounter real people very often – I guess once a year at graduations.  What I found interesting is that the President started listing “important” events that had occurred while the class of 2011 had been in school.  Of the things mentioned was the election "of the first black President Barack Obama . . . . " silence from the crowd.  He continued with other meaningless incidents that had occurred until mentioning that "Osama bin Laden was killed last week . . . " and the crowd erupted in applause (including much of the student body).  The "OOH-Rah" they heard was me.  It may be wishful thinking - but I think the President looked a little shocked. 

All-in-all I think it was probably good for academia to have had the opportunity to meet America on Sunday.  

Doomed to Fail: The Built-in Defects of American Education      The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education


  1. Amigo,
    Thanks for sharing. That was a nice read.

  2. Congrats to CS Jr. Did he earn one of those commissions?

  3. Thanks and congratulations to BC.

  4. Notice which one didn't congratulate the graduate? Remove this nut so we can go back to discussing the issues.