Dear 2021 Carroll University Graduate,
Though I retired in May of 2019, I’ve been thinking of you with pride and admiration for your fortitude and success during this pandemic challenging time. Here are some thoughts based on my experiences at Carroll.
Because of my length of time at Carroll (41 years) and my rank of Full Professor, I used to march at the front of the line at Commencement. That gave me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers but forced me to be on my best behavior — awake, disconnected from my Ipad, and resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats. I even got an annual haircut!
Your senior class includes some of my former students, research assistants, and advisees. For those of you I have met, I did my best to teach you well but alas I am only human. Each student is different, special, and always teaches me. You enriched my life, and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps even expand upon our relationships. That happens a lot! Thanks for the many lessons you taught me. Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees) have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try to provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place.
I urge that as time and circumstances allow that you join those guardian angels in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points!”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed at Carroll that have served you well. Carroll for me was always been a Caring Place.
Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but I also encourage you to offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations or deviates from its values. Be appropriately skeptical of bland, branding platitudes. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically, but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart.
I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead of you as you share your talents and make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam. With many fond memories,
David Simpson, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and fellow, flawed human being.