A light breeze kept students and their families cool while they chatted outdoors last Friday evening at The Media School’s senior graduation reception. The event took place May 4 in a tent at the DeVault Alumni Center at half-past five, with people trickling in throughout the proceedings. Almost every chair was taken, and people stood in the back trying to see their student walk across the stage.
Jordyn Alexander, this year’s student speaker, kicked off the event. Alexander is a Media major studying narrative filmmaking. She began by listing all of the student media organizations she had been a part of, and encouraged anyone else who was involved to give a shout if they also participated in that organization. She said joining those organizations were invaluable experiences that taught her skills and made her lifelong friends.
“I knew I would maybe gain lifelong friends, but little did I know I would be adding members to my family,” she said. The line elicited a collective “awww” from the crowd.
The cheering Alexander started became a theme throughout the evening, with Dean Shanahan encouraging the “whooing” multiple times during his remarks.
“Every time we say something good we should get a ‘whoo,’” he said. He went on to thank staff, parents, friends and caregivers for their parts in each student’s journey. He emphasized the students’ roles in shaping each other’s education and how the Media School provides opportunities, but it’s up to the students to make the most of them.
“Watching [her peers’] craft has given me the drive to become a better storyteller myself,” she said.
Her peers, all 500 of them, then walked across the stage and shook the Dean’s hand. The Media School puts on the ceremony so each senior can have his or her name said aloud and walk across the stage, since this kind of individual recognition is impossible at the university-wide graduation ceremony.
Dean Shanahan bid adieu to the students in his typical fashion – a joke.
“It’s sad to see you go, but it would be sadder to see you stay,” he said. “That would indicate a problem.”