Commencement, holidays: Celebrations that bring families together
This time of the year is filled with celebration. For some, it’s a celebration of the holidays. For others, it’s a chance to rejoice in the gathering of friends and family. And now Fairmont State University is thrilled to have one more reason to celebrate: Winter Commencement.
Commencement has always been one of my favorite events of the year. We witness firsthand the enthusiasm of all those who are beginning their new journey into our Falcon Nation and into the world as alumni. Our faculty and staff take pride in playing a part in their journey and we are proud to celebrate their success.
For our graduates, walking is a symbolic, visible representation of their many years of sacrifice. They deserve the opportunity to celebrate this incredible achievement with their family, friends, and Falcon community. And because we have so many students who are the first in their families to attend – and graduate from – college, it’s a time for them to come together and acknowledge a transformational event that’s never been celebrated before in their families.
This will be the first winter commencement ceremony in five years. We decided to host a winter commencement because we realized that when students leave the University upon graduating after their final fall semester, there’s no guarantee they are able to make it back in the spring for commencement. Many of our students are not from the area, or they start their careers upon graduation and are unable to make it back in May. Still others have families and other obligations, and they can’t take time off to come celebrate. Returning in May is even more difficult for some of our international students. Holding a winter commencement ceremony allows our entire family to celebrate their significant achievements.
Commencement is just one of several celebrations of the season though, with Thanksgiving having just passed and Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the horizon. The holiday season is the perfect reminder to celebrate not only the families we have at home but the Falcon Family you have here at your “university on the hill.” Over the last year we have accomplished historical achievements as we continue to make our University, and the surrounding community, a special place to work and live.
While the air is filled with that celebratory spirit, and as many of us embrace the gathering of friends and family, let us also remember those who cannot be with us. They may be the men and women who selflessly serve our country in distant places. Or, they may be those who have lost their homes, or who have tragically lost family members and friends because of the terrible hurricanes, floods, and fires that have recently inflicted so much heartache on our nation. The prayers and support of others and the bonds of friendship and family are what sustain us all through such trying times.
I hope as you enjoy your holidays, and (for those who may get holiday time off) that you will take time to reflect on all the things that have made this year and this semester so wonderful. Our common love for this University and the Fairmont community makes us a true Falcon Family. On behalf of Fairmont State University, I hope you join us as we continue to soar to new heights in the new year.President Dr. Mirta MartinOpinionOpEdholidaysCommencement