Saturday, I shot all three graduation ceremonies. As a photographer, so many things were the same, and at the same time they were all unique.
The first graduate I spied at the 9 a.m. graduation was my friend Ben Buterbaugh. Ben is the son of Harding magazine editor Tom Buterbaugh, whose office is next door to mine in the Public Relations Office. I remember the day Ben was born, and now I am seeing him graduate from college. I might have felt old for just a minute as I snapped his photo.
Programs are an important part of graduation. I spend a good amount of time with the program sorting out who is who in the line of march photos for each graduation. I spied Chancellor Burks reading the program as the processional played for the 3 p.m.graduation. I imagine he was looking for the name of his granddaughter Emily Ann Burks who graduated with a degree in communication sciences and disorders.
I found this couple reading their programs as they waited for the doors to open for 3 p.m. graduation.
Lots of photos are taken at graduations. I took 1,419 photos myself. In one of those photos, Lady Bison basketball player Deshelle Boyce posed for a family selfie after she received her B.B.A. in health care management.
Lots of different emotions are a part of graduation. This past December there was an ice storm that canceled school the last day of chapel when the student body traditionally sings “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” to the seniors. Dr. Bruce McLarty decided that the faculty should sing to the seniors at the December commencement, and it was so moving that he decided to keep it as a new graduation tradition. As we sang to the students and as the Alma Mater was sung, some tears were shed. There is a sadness to the passing of such a great time in life as the college years are.
Seeing those tears makes me get a little emotional, too. I love Harding like these students love Harding. I am little sad to see this group go because I have so many friends in this class. On the other hand, I am really excited to see them confidently go knowing that they will be a blessing wherever they end up.
The last photo on my memory card is a shot of me with my friend and fellow photographer Jerry Eberly. Jerry and all my other friends who are part of my Harding family are what make it great to be at Harding for me.