By Betsy Millane, Parents Council
I was privileged to attend my son’s winter graduation in December. In spite of the icy weather, the occasion was warm, memorable and quite manageable.
Penn State held their Fall Commencement on December 17, 2016.
The Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony was held on Friday, December 16, 2016 at The Penn Stater Hotel Conference Center at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday saw the Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Ceremonies, held in The Bryce Jordan Center at 9:00 a.m. for the College of Agricultural Sciences, Smeal College of Business, College or Earth and Minerals Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Information Sciences and Technology.
At 12:30 p.m. ceremonies were held for the Colleges of Arts and Architecture, Communications, Education, Health and Human Development, Liberal Arts and the College of Nursing.
At 4:30 p.m. the Graduate School held their ceremony.
That’s all the official stuff – here’s what you need to know:
The grads were asked to be at the Bryce Jordan Center by 8:15 a.m. Icy rain, slick roads, and traffic kept us from getting there until 8:30 but it wasn’t a problem at all for my son to meet with his class or for me to get to the Center. There were plenty of parking spaces.
There were no bag checks so I was able to bring my camera into the center, although I was asked to stay in my seat for my photos. Yes, I did sneak a few candid photos from the steps.
President Barron kept his comments short and to the point – a good thing for everyone as there were many graduates to get to. The entire ceremony took perhaps 2 hours.
Every graduate was asked to come up to the stage as their names were read aloud and was handed a card; the diplomas would be sent home. A photographer was on hand to take photos and the images were emailed to us a day later. They were terrific, inexpensive, and easy to order.
I made my reservation at the Penn Stater in early October and there was no problem getting a room. The rate was reasonable, about $165 per night. The Hilton was about $260.
Letterman’s was booked for Saturday night so we went on Friday, but had no trouble finding a seat at Otto’s for Saturday lunch.
Friday was the last day of exams so many of the kids had already cleared out. The campus, which my son drove me around and through Friday night after dinner in a lovely tour of his favorite spots, was subdued and quiet. The Frat house still had some inhabitants, but the parking lot sported many open spaces.
I thought to stay another night, but took advantage of a good weather window to pack up and leave by about 4:00 in the afternoon.
Both my son and I were sad about leaving the home he had enjoyed for 4 ½ years. Certainly the young man I dropped off was not the young man who was leaving. He’d been challenged and had changed for the better. He was confident in his studies, his friendships, and his ability to roll with the punches. He had learned, from his internship the summer before, how sweet Happy Valley was, how top rate the gym, the value of having friends around all the time, and the power of a Penn State degree.
We left Penn State strong and grateful for the experience.