Oh, how I love and despise the flexibility of the Graduate Program! It brings diverse students around one table; it lets the same leave at diverse intervals. The end of another semester, another interval, arrived: the Annapolis wing of the Graduate Institute gathered at the Hodson Boathouse to celebrate the accomplishments of the students, tutors, and administration (not to mention the staff!). To celebrate and to solemnify, for it was well said that all changes have their melancholy.
President Kanelos started the night with a speech reminding us of how privileged we all were to be here, tonight, on the campus that’s home to the purest form of education out there. Thereafter saw the main event: the conferring of gifts, hugs, and handshakes to those graduating graduates whose time to depart has arrived. There were laughs nonetheless, as Mr. Gottumukkala charmingly toasted the tutors, comparing their guidance to characters in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Mr. Sinnett, tutor and — he was quick to warn us — ex-minister, quoted Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians to describe not only the community we were so fortunate to be a part of, but also what he hoped the world community might likewise become: “we are perplexed, but not in despair.”
The night ended with the customary “Four Republics” speech by Dean Langston, a toast to the Republic of the United States, the Republic of Letters, the Republic of Plato, and lastly, the Republic of St. John’s College. May those here carry the studied perplexity throughout their lives, to their fellow citizens out there — and may they return to visit real soon!