Sunday, May 18, 2014

Springtime and New Beginnings

Springtime and New Beginnings

Patricia L. Cummings

The Lilac bushes are setting forth their fragrant blooms again, filling the air with their unmistakable and distinctive fragrance. School graduations have begun to happen. Happy  proud parents flock to see their  children pass another milestone in their development. The word "Commencement" itself is rooted in the idea of new beginnings as was pointed out by a speaker at the University of Rhode Island, yesterday. He was just one of the well-wishers to the doctoral candidates and those who have achieved "master's degree" status.

Quince blossom
In today's world, the accomplishment of a college degree requires a strong financial commitment on the part of the candidate or his/her family. The debt load with loans can impoverish students for years to come. To earn a bachelor's degree can be challenging enough but to earn a doctoral degree requires dedication and determination at a level unfathomable by those who have not done it.

The Academic "Elite"

As was mentioned yesterday in a speech at URI, those who hold doctorate degrees number less than 1% of the world's population. While one should not gloat about having earned that status, a mention of it can and should open opportunities. However, any degree is just a start! Though difficult to attain, a college degree is just the opening act on the stage of LIFE.

Long distance photo shot  of James P. Gorham,
 newly-awarded a Ph.D. in English Literature

Our Own Pride and Joy

Many congratulations to my son, James P. Gorham, Ph.D., for having held steady to the task. He has earned the right to add three letters after his name (that mean "doctor of philosophy). They place him in the category of the intellectually elite. That said, we cannot linger long on that word, "elite." It smacks too much of "elitism," a word that conveys a sense of snobbery and head-in-the-air foolishness. My son is not elite in that sense of the word. He is steady, down-to-earth, and reliable, as well as being a hard worker who managed to overcome many external obstacles placed along the way on the route to this new status.

No matter what else you do in life, take time "to smell the roses!"

Making a Difference

One must take the title of "doctor" seriously and realize that the additional letters added to one's name can be translated as "leader," one who is called to set an example and reach even higher to complete other dreams and to craft a fruit-bearing life style that continues to be meaningful to others, as well as oneself.

We know what James accomplished and some of the personal challenges he faced. As he relaxes a bit now to reflect on goals already attained, we are certain that he is looking ahead and will be one of the 1% of those who hold doctoral degrees who are continuing to improve life for others by their words and by their work.

Congratulations to all who are receiving awards this spring! It is truly a time to feel happy! 

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