Grantham's 2016 CommencementOn Saturday, August 6, 100% online Grantham University held its annual, real-life commencement ceremony. And Grantham’s 2016 Commencement was … well, it was WOW!

Of course, I can say the same thing about the last three commencements I was privileged to be a part of in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

From the Color Guard’s presentation of our nation’s flag to the after-event graduating class picture on the Kemper Auditorium lawn – everything was WOW!

The fact everything went off without a hitch is a testament to the professionalism of the staff involved, the cooperative spirit of the guests and the excitement of the graduates. But, truth be told, it would have been WOW even if all those events had fallen flat.

You see, Grantham’s 2016 Commencement was destined to be a rousing success for one very important reason, which has something to do with what I have written about for three years (now four). Namely, it would have been a success simply because of our graduates. Because of the sense of satisfaction, pride and achievement they felt after working so long and so hard to achieve a dream:

“These graduates have, one and all, earned their diplomas. … In the delicate balance between busy home lives and the time-consuming demands of a job, they found the determination to log on, download the day’s assignments and get it done.

This is what it means to earn an online degree. And these graduates make this day … WOW!

Now a few final thoughts from Grantham’s 2016 Commencement

An alternate subhead might have been: Things I’ll Never Forget from Grantham’s 2016 Commencement.

Happy Grantham GraduatesI’ll never forget … the graduates I got to meet and talk with in person. Each one was filled with enthusiasm, excitement and the knowledge they accomplished something great. Congratulations Christian, Amos, Abraham, Rafael, Robin, Dominique, Kevin, Dawn, Paul, Frederick, Jeffrey, Tony, Michael, Jason, Michelle, Tracey, Travis and Mike. I know you’re going to accomplish even more in the future.

I’ll never forget … the moment Lorenzo Grimes came on to the stage to accept the degree for his late father, Army Sergeant First Class Stephen Grimes who passed away three credit hours short of finishing his degree on his own. And I’ll never forget the posthumous degree awarded on behalf of Virgil Burden, U.S. Air Force veteran, who passed away with only seven courses remaining. I have no doubt that if circumstances had been different, they would have finished strong. As Dr. Hayek says, “This is what Grantham University is all about.” Finishing well. Doing right by our students. And finishing strong.

I’ll never forget … the class photo … the love of the guests for the graduates … the energy of our speakers ... the red, white and blue honor cords ... the fun of the Meet and Greet ... the beauty of the Kauffman Center ... and so much more.

I’ve been able to witness four of these events live. I’m looking forward to many more for years to come. As I said in last year’s post-commencement blog post, it’s time to start planning the next one. It’s only 360-odd days until Grantham’s 2017 Commencement.

Our students are taking tests … turning in assignments … and doing everything they can to get ready for it. So will we.

Were you at the ceremony? Share your photos on our Facebook page or via Twitter or Instagram with #GranthamGrad.