I have been just returned from my 25th class reunion at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
What a blast! Three lasting images came home with me.
First, my very good friend Mary S. confided in me a secret she’s kept for 29 years. As high school students back in the dark ages, Mary and John W. and I were involved in the YMCA’s “Youth and Government” program. And somewhere along the line, Mary decided that if John and I were going to college, she could too. We didn’t come from families that had gone to college before. Thank goodness John was also at the reunion.
The lasting impression is that I am honored to have had such an impact on someone’s life — even if I didn’t know it at the time. The littlest things can turn out to be the biggest things. After Gonzaga, Mary wandered off to Vanderbilt for Law. And, of course, she’s been a lawyer for the last twenty-some years. Anyway, I’m honored that Mary gives me some small piece of credit for something she did.
Second, the people of Gonzaga are the best people in the world. When we were young, we knew we’d have careers and families. We didn’t plan on circuitous career routes and all the miscellaneous twists and turns of life.
But this crowd is fanastic. Yes, there have been a few divorces and dissappointments. But there have also been travels around the world, giving up a career to care for a child with Downs’ Syndrome, taking in a teenager whose mother passed away, and many other acts of kindness and generosity.
If you had to pick a group of people to run the world, I can’t recommend a group more highly than Gonzaga graduates. As a whole, they enjoy hard work, hard play, more than a couple of drinks, talking about what matters, doing what matters, and leading their lives with commitment, dedication, and spirituality.
As a group, their stories are not just about what they did to get where they are, but how they touch peoples’ lives. At some level, God put us here on earth to take care of one another. Gonzaga graduates do that as second nature. I’m proud to be associated with these people.
Finally, my last impression is of my daughter Victoria in this crowd. She held her own! She is quite mature and had easy conversation with adults who were accountants, lawyers, financiers, and pillars of the community. She was charming, graceful, and poised. Granted, I’m her father. But it is an absolute pleasure to see my daughter being so comfortable in a situation that can’t be fun for any 15 year old.
Thank you, Mary, and Gonzaga, and Victoria, for giving me a delightful weekend.