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Graduation day!

Randall F. Clemens

One of my fondest memories of college occurred during my first semester as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park. I remember walking from class one chilly November evening. As I was contemplating the class discussion of The Laramie Project, a play about the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, I exited from a canopy of trees to a snow-covered and moonlit McKeldin Mall. It was an image and a feeling that I will never forget. It is why I love education so much.

I am fortunate to have many of those types of memories, memories that are more than just the sentimental musings of an English major. They are important because I have had the opportunity to reflect on my own humanity and to enlarge my understanding of the world in which I live. That is why I work to improve college access. Beside all of the statistics that illustrate the importance of college degrees for earnings, I know that I am a better person for every step extra I have taken as a first-generation college student. 

Graduation is a time to celebrate beginnings and endings. I am at the end of my time as a Ph.D. student. It has been a long, rewarding journey. I have thrived from the support of my colleagues at the Rossier School of Education as well as the sociology department and the Price School of Public Policy. I have benefitted from the mentorship of a few select professors, most notably Bill Tierney, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Gib Hentschke, Sylvia Rousseau, and Darnell Cole.

In the spirit of beginnings, I am happy to announce that I will start in the fall as an Assistant Professor at St. John’s University. I will discuss what that means for my blogging in a later post. But rest assured, I will still blog once a month at 21stcenturyscholar.

For now, to my fellow graduates from pre-school to graduate school, I wish you a happy graduation day.

We did it!

(Or, for those of you, like me, with defense dates set in a month or so, we have almost done it!)