We drove up to East Lansing last week for the graduation of our son from Michigan State University (that’s him in the cap and gown with his twin brother who graduates from the University of Virginiathis coming weekend). MSU has 46,000 students, so graduation is spread over a whole weekend.
It began with a convocation keynoted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is rare to be in the presence of someone who changed the world by risking his life to stand up to powerful oppressors, but that fairly describes Archbishop Tutu. He was quite something.
That was followed by Brian’s college graduation, and all 1,000 graduates from Communication Arts were called to the stage, including Goran Suton, named to the all-tournament team for this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. There are few moments in a parents life that compare to seeing your child graduate college!
A sign of the times, message was put on the Jumbotron at the Breslin Center that said, “because of recent events we will not engage in hand shaking.” Fist bumps replaced the congratulatory hand shake.
On the way out, we passed by the huge General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Only a small fraction of the spaces in its enormous employee parking lot were filled. Those empty places signify a lot of stress and uncertainty for many families in these tough economic times.
A little further along the Ohio Turnpike, we passed the large Chrysler plant just east of Toledo. It is shut down for now, and there were only 3-5 cars in the lot (maintenance folks, I presume). Again, those empty spaces spell a lot of pain.
I bought a lot of gas along the way, and the price has now crept past $2.25 a gallon for regular. It is hard to believe it won’t pass back into the $3-plus range this summer. I wonder if that will re-kindle all that interest in a forward looking energy policy that we hear last year at $4 a gallon. We’ll see.