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June 10, 2006

Thank you2

Today, with co-blogger Andrew Hammond serving as a Student Marshall, I graduated from the University of Chicago. The ceremony was gorgeous, despite spotty weather that left our seats wet and the event slightly abbreviated. Professor of English James Chandler gave a convocation address very true to the University of Chicago, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg added interesting remarks, despite being a rather unusual non-University guest.As I contemplate on what it actually means to be a graduate of the College, I feel the need to thank all of those who helped and inspired me along the way. While I will be heading back home to family and friends in New York next week, I will also be leaving many friends and mentors in Chicago or as they spread out across the globe. I have no doubt that I will see them again, some more frequently than others, but until then, I would like to specifically thank those who have made my University of Chicago experience truly remarkable.My closest friends in the College. My better half. The incredible staff, past and present, of the Chicago Maroon. The University of Chicago administration--Don Randel, Steve Klass, Bill Michel, John Boyer, Richard Saller, Sharlene Holly, and others. My absolutely inspiring professors--Robert Haselkorn, David Mazziotti, Mark Osadjan, Darrel Waggoner. Four years of Chicago tennis players and coaches, and the whole University of Chicago athletics community.Thank you, thank you.In the often-repeated words of President Randel, I believe the University of Chicago is the greatest university in this or any neighboring galaxy. The reasons why I believe this are embodied in words that I heard during my very first day at the University nearly four years ago. Sociology Professor Andrew Abbott was charged with delivering our class's Aims of Education address, and put forward the following theory which has defined my University of Chicago existence:"The long and the short of it is that there is no instrumental reason to get an education, to study in your courses, or to pick a concentration and lose yourself in it. It won’t get you anything you won’t get anyway or get some other way. So forget everything you ever thought about all these instrumental reasons for getting an education. The reason for getting an education is that it is better to be educated than not to be...There are no aims of education. The aim is education. If—and only if—you seek it…education will find you. Welcome to the University of Chicago."During the course of the past four years, I re-read Professor Abbott's speech at the beginning of every quarter, and whenever, overwhelmed with work, I start thinking that there could not possibly be a reason to do all of this. As I move into the next chapter of my life, it will only take a re-reading of that address to remind me of what it felt like to be a student in the College.Thank you to the Univerity of Chicago and to everyone who makes it was it is.