June 12, 2011 - 3:30 PM
While the big University of Oregon Commencement ceremony isn't until tomorrow, the McAlister crew hosted a shindig of our own to celebrate the past four years. This graduation ceremony has been in the works for several weeks now; a small group of us had been meeting on Wednesdays for a few weeks to plan how to get 20+ of us and our families together in one location for an awesome event.
So, this morning was the big day, and we gathered at Alton Baker Park will a full ceremony planned and ready to go. Emily had designed adorable invitations and a program, and with those asked each family to bring a side dish or the fixings for mimosas. There ceremony started around 11:30 am, with all of us graduates walking in with our caps on. Our friend Bob, a junior this year, was graciously MC-ing the event by managing the music and transitions.
Leslie and her roommates, some of the central planners behind the event, gave an excellent introduction and welcomed our families. Cam followed up by reciting a poem that he wrote about the boys in our group last year. He titled it "The Keystolopes" in honor of our favorite cheap beer, and spoke of all of the fun that they had. He said that the he woke up one night, suddenly inspired, and scribbled down the poem half awake. To honor the girls, Emily read part of the letter that she wrote to the Ellen DeGeneres last year. Our group of girl friends gets together every year on Valentine's Day to celebrate and last year the girls entered a contest to get Joshua Radin to perform through the Ellen Show. While we didn't win, we were finalists, and the girls wrote a very touching letter about our friendship. By this point in the ceremony, my eyes were already filled with tears, and I wasn't the only one.
A fellow AGP blogger, Trafton, also gave an amazing "Keystone" speech (again, not a typo). Trafton's speech focused on our group of friends, and the memories that we had amassed over the years. He is an excellent and charismatic speaker (kind of like he is in person), and everyone really enjoyed his portion of the ceremony.
We also had the opportunity to thank our families for everything that they have done over the years. Not only have my parents been an amazing help to me over the years, but the other parents have also provided us with many wonderful experiences. My roommate Kate's parents have given us incredible tailgaters for the past four years, Leslie's family has hosted the gigantic group three times at their home on Bainbridge Island, all of the Californians have housed us for football away games, we've been to Cam's lake cabin, and my parents have invited my friends to our lake cabin, the list goes on and on. Our parents have been so supportive in so many ways, and it was fantastic to be able to collectively thank them.
Then, Bob handed out our "diplomas" which officially recognized just how great we all were at college. He even signed them, ever so eloquently, as BOB. Once everyone had received their diplomas, we tossed our caps in the air as a final act of the ceremony. Then, we all chatted and ate some delicious food.
It was so great for everyone's families to meet each other! They have all done so much for all of us over the years and we all appreciated the opportunity to meet and thank each other. I'm so thankful for the wonderful friends that McAlister dormitory gave me four years ago, and for everyone we've added along the way!