Friday, May 11, 2012

To the OBU Class of 2012

First of all, congratulations. This is such a big day. I know you have worked so hard to be where you are-- to put on those robes and goofy hats and finally be able to walk across that stage. Of course they don't tell you that they're only handing you the holder, you'll get your degree in the mail in a couple weeks. But all the same, the pictures will be wonderful.

Today is the ceremony that celebrates the last four years of your life. It's a little unreal. Especially at a small school and residential campus like OBU, it often feels like your whole life consists of nothing but that less than one square mile. It's hard to believe that it's over.

Some of you are looking to your first real jobs, some graduate school, still some the unknown and maybe your old bedroom at your parents' house. But today is not a day to think about the future but of the biggest accomplishment of your life thus far. No matter what your plans for the future are, today is a day to celebrate.

Of course, I know most of you. And I stood on that stage only 364 days ago. I know how hard you have worked. And I know how much love it is possible to have for your alma mater.

You'll be surprised how much sense it  makes as your life changes. You'll spend the summer going to weddings. You'll begin your new enterprises-- or perhaps continue to search for them. Some of your friends will move farther away than you could've imagined and some will still be only a short drive away. But all of you will move past OBU and being a college student because that's what it's time to do.

Today, I am not writing to you as simply some girl who writes on this blog that you have probably heard of but may or may not follow. I am not just some writer seeking you opportunistically on this, YOUR day, so that you might join my cause. That would be audacious and a little bit rude.

Today, I am writing you as a friend, and as a fellow-alum of a great school. And my message to you is this: today is a day for celebration. But tomorrow and in the tomorrows that follow, do not forget your alma mater. The truth is, we have all already invested too much in that school to leave it behind without a thought. Each of us has given (approximately) four years and many many hard-saved dollars.

Here are some things to consider: what kind of place are you leaving? What do you love about your school? And, most importantly, how can you be a good alum who works towards justice in that place?

This week I have highlighted some of my motivations for joining the Save OBU movement.

I know that not all of you will join with me. And I know that probably some of you think I am crazy, silly, stupid, or, worst of all, hurtful. But sincerely, this is the best way I can think of to do the right thing.

And I know that some of you must know that this is the best way you can think of to do the right thing by your alma mater as well.

Again, congratulations on such a great day. We here at Save OBU are all very proud of you.

And as you leave that school that you love, please do not forget your Christian responsibility to take care of it and to protect it.

You are now a college grad. For all that you have learned, do not forget the lesson of being human:

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God? 

We often say at OBU that we have become more fully human. So my encouragement to you is this: use that degree and all you've learned to seek justice and kindness. And by doing so, you will find that you have continued walking towards God.

Congratulations, class of 2012! We rejoice with you and look forward to all of the new things your post-grad life will bring.

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