Field of Science

A way back graduation tale

What seems like a long time ago, TPP graduated from college, fifty years ago to be exact, so 1970.  And I do feel rather sorry for all those grads whose graduation ceremony was cancelled.  Ours wasn't cancelled but it wasn't normal either.  It could have gone either way.  You see students opposed to the war in Vietnam got very upset and energized by the shooting of protesters by the National Guard at Kent State University.  Everybody walked out of class on "strike" essentially shutting down most universities.  However in TPP's case the science faculty decided that learning and the strike were more or less at odds with each other, and they did not cancel their classes, some of which TPP needed to complete in order to graduate and go graduate school the next fall.  This was a big deal because while not in favor of the war, the chance to get a graduate degree in botany was a huge opportunity.  Well to make a long story short, TPP did pass his classes and attend graduate school, but he took a lot of grief from more politically motivated students.  Our graduation was in question, but it was finally negotiated between campus administrators and student anti-war leaders.  Our valedictorian left campus for his graduate work, and our student government president decided he would lead in our class, but putting a student politician in a place of academic honor did not sit well with most of us.  But pragmatically someone had to do it, and it came to pass that TPP graduated in early June some 50 years ago, although it was a bit touch and go there for awhile whether a graduation ceremony was too politically correct or not, but no one shot at us. As the Phactors have been reminded lately, we survived the 60s twice. That was how they ended.  

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