Beloved retired Dean of Students, Dr. Thomas J. “Sparky” Reardon, posted a letter on his Facebook to the UM Class of 2016.
The letter reads:
To the Class of 2016,
I saw the chairs in the Grove this morning. It’s getting close. Go get your cap and gown. Say good bye to important people. Throw away that piece of pizza that you found in the crease of your couch. Remember and laugh and cry and hug. Don’t believe anyone who told you that these have been the best four years of your life. I hope that next year is the best year of your life and that every year hence is better than the last.
If I could give you one more assignment, I would assign you one hour by yourself in the Grove or the Circle or the Quad. I would ask you to be quiet and reflect on your time here. While you were here and away from the world, lots of things happened. There was the Arab Spring, the advent of ISIS, the selection of a new Pope, earthquakes and hurricanes, the disappearance of Malaysia Airline 370, a kiss and make-up with Cuba, a leak named Edward Snowden, the bombing of Boston Marathon, and Ebola and the Zika virus.
During your four years here many people important to my generation graduated to that big commencement in the sky: George Jones, Pete Seeger, Maya Angelou, Casey Kasem, Robin Williams, Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Neil Armstrong, George McGovern, Richie Havens and Encyclopedia Britannica (our Google) all passed on.
There I go looking back. That’s what old folks do. Forgive me.
So, now, Class of 2016, it’s time to commence. Commence becoming the person that you were meant to be. Commence meeting the person that you will become. Commence finding that person with whom you will share life. Commence becoming a steward of this earth and this spot in time. Commence learning to love without boundaries. commence finding a cure for the incurable, writing for the next great American novel, brokering peace where there is discord, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and clothing the naked. Commence comforting those who need comfort. Commence thanking those who brought you here.
Commence cleaning your room, packing your vehicle and saying good bye.
Commence making us proud of you.
Don’t look back at Ole Miss in your rearview mirror. That’s painful.
In fact, don’t look back at all. That’s what old folks do.
Now, go on. Commence.
His Facebook status received an immense amount of attention.
We at HottyToddy.com especially agree with Lauren Lexa’s comments! Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do, Sparky. Oxford and Ole Miss are blessed to have you.
And we wish the Class of 2016 all the best in their post-graduate life. Now, go forth and commence!
And for the alumni who miss Sparky may enjoy the photo gallery below. Safe to say he has proven that the post-graduate years can be the best of your life.
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