The Friday before graduation is always reserved for graduation preparation. I have to say a special thanks to allView who pitched in to ensure that graduation would go off without a hitch. The folks who deserve all the credit are my assistant, Terri Yeakley- she works very closely with me on the preparation of the script, Malcolm McNair and Michele Payne- they fuss over the details, and Rhonda Adams our Registrar- she works very hard to insure that all the honors are calculated and that students actually obtain their degree the day of graduation. She also works with them to see that all their financial obligations are taken care of or they are at least aware of any outstanding obligations so that they obtain their degree. Jacque Fifer, Mary Herrington and Terri Yeakley also work tirelessly to get the diplomas ready for our students.

There are logistics involved, for example, making sure that the appropriate number of chairs are there, that the caterers have been contacted and everything is in place. I’d also like to send a very special thanks to Media Services who films our graduation for us every year, professionally and cordially. Finally, thanks to the photographers who ensure that our students will have a keepsake memento of their graduation View 2day. So all those things, and the last minute checks, take place on that Friday. In addition, there is always the anticipated arrival of our guests for the platform party. This year we had special guests from Texarkana and needed to make sure that their arrangements had been properly made and that there were no glitches in their arrival.

In addition to looking forward to and preparing for graduation the next day, we were also in the midst of the last minute preparations for the graduates’ reception to be held that evening at the Hembree Alumni House. This event is attended by faculty, staff, the graduates, and their families and friends. It’s a lovely setting and weather was terrific. We had a number of families there along with the grads. There were very delicious light hors d’vores as well as beer, wine and soft drinks. We have a number of pictures. I’ve posted them on my Facebook page so check them out. It was wondgrouperful to meet your families, to be able to visit with you, to see the excitement and to share in celebrating the joy of your success. I’ll miss you all very much, particularly as I taught half of this class in torts and feel very close to all of you. I wish you the best, Class of 2008!

After the reception, thank you very much to Emily Sprott, her fiancé, Jonathan McIllwain, her parents, Jim and Jan Sprott, and her uncle and aunt who invited me to join them for dinner. We went to Ghazi’s Pesto Café (although it’s no longer called that, it’s called Pesto Café). It’s a little Italian restaurant located in a motel here in Fayetteville on College Ave. The tag line is “authentic Italian cuisine”. It’s really small and on College, you wouldn’t even know it was there. A long time ago, Pesto Café used to be situated where Café Rue New Orleans is in the hotel across from Sprottthe VA Hospital, but they’ve been in their new location for a while now. It used to be called Ghazi’s Pesto Café because Ghazi had been a chef on a cruise ship when he first opened it, but he sold it to the current owners.

Anyway, that’s a long story to simply say thank you very much to the Sprott family for inviting me to share dinner with them. I hadn’t been there in a long, long time. We also ran into Jerry Ament and his family who ended up dining there as well. For the foodies out there, they have a very good dish called salmon rigatoni ala vodka and it’s described on the menu as fresh salmon sautéed with garlic and bell peppers glazed with vodka to make a delightful pink sauce over rigatoni pasta. Some of the rest of us had spaghetti and meat sauce or lasagna. Emily and her aunt had salad, and somebody had the chicken parmesan. It was a delightful way to end a long, long day and to celebrate with Emily. Best wishes on her upcoming wedding, next weekend, Memorial Day weekend. It was a delight to meet her aunt and uncle. Thank you very much for dinner. I appreciate it. After that it was time to scoot home and rest for the big day the next day, graduation day.