This weekend, I got to partake in one of my favorite parts of being a faculty member — walking as part of the faculty processional for the 2015 Spring Commencement. For the past two years, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the Spring Commencement at The Ohio State University — and while the weather can be a bit on the warm side, the event always leaves me refreshed and excited to see how the Libraries can find new ways to partner with our faculty, students, and new alumni; and this year was no different (plus, any event where you get to wear robes and funny hats is one I want to be a part of). Under the beating sun and unseasonable humidity, President Drake reminded all in attendance that while OSU is a world-class research and educational institution; our roots are and continue to be strengthened by our commitment as a land grant institution — to be an institution who’s core mission is to educate the sons and daughters of our great state, and beyond. And I believe that. I believe in the land grant mission, and of the special role and bond that land grant institutions have to their states and their citizens. So it was with great joy, that I found myself in Ohio Stadium to celebrate the end of one journey for the ~11,000 OSU graduates, and the beginning of another as these graduates look to make their own way into the future.
In my two years at OSU, one of the things you hear a lot at this institution is a commitment to “Pay it Forward”. I’ve found among the faculty, the staff, the alumni that number close to 1/2 a million — these aren’t just words but a way of life for so many who are a part of Buckeye Nation. Is this unique to Ohio State — no, but with so many alumni, the influence is much easier to see. You see it in the generosity of time, the long-term mentorship, the continued engagement with this institution — when you join Buckeye nation; you are joining one big extended family.
I find that it is sometimes easy to forget the role that you get to play as part of the faculty in helping our students be successful. It’s easy to get bogged down in the committee work, the tenure requirements, your own research, or the job of being faculty member at a research institution. It’s easy to take for granted the unique privilege that we have as faculty to serve and pay it forward to the next generation. Sitting at Ohio Stadium, with so many graduates and their parents and friends…yes, it’s a privilege. Congratulations class of 2015.