Commencement weekend has come and gone, and now I’m back home in North Carolina. I’ve added a few things to my life recently, the first of those things being a Notre Dame diploma!
I was fortunate to be surrounded by my friends and family on what was probably the last big deal, look-at-me kind of day I’ll have for a good long time. The weekend was sunny, warm, and (unsurprisingly) fantastically well choreographed by the university. Fr. Hesburgh came to the baccalaureate Mass on Saturday night and to the university commencement ceremony on Sunday morning, Haley Scott DeMaria surprised everyone with an inspiring and funny address, and nobody tripped while walking across the stage to shake hands with the Dean at the Arts & Letters diploma ceremony.
All of the big college and university programs were really well done, but the American Studies departmental reception was the most meaningful event of the weekend. The department is relatively small so there was plenty of opportunity for students, parents, and faculty to mingle. Everyone had lots of nice things to say and I even got an award – the Professor James Withey Award for Notable Achievement in Writing. Introducing my parents to my thesis advisor and some of my other favorite professors was the absolute highlight of the weekend. Mom and Dad later said the reception felt like “the final parent-teacher conference.”
A few days after I returned home to NC, I added something (someone?) else to my post-grad life. A dog!
Teddy is a 4.5 year old golden retriever. He’s a retired show dog, and I adopted him from a breeder in Raleigh. He’ll come to live with me in Minneapolis once I move. His name was Bond before I adopted him, but I’ve since changed his name to Teddy in honor of Fr. Ted Hesburgh. I didn’t want to pick a name that was overtly Notre Dame-y, like Rudy or Domer or something like that, so I settled on Teddy as a more subtle ND reference. The dog is called Teddy most of the time, Ted for short, and Theodore when he’s in trouble.