Reflections on Commencement

It was a long night before the Unified Commencement Ceremony. I excitedly prepared for the big event, because I knew it would be a life-long memory. I dressed up smart on this important day. When I got to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, I was astonished by the grand scene and surprised by the well-organized staff. Everyone at the site was lit up by the joy of the success of the graduates, and the care they presented made us very comfortable and grateful. The moment I walked into the Superdome, it became a world of applause and screams. I could even feel the support from every family in the grandstands.

As we seated ourselves, a live band played jazz music to entertain everybody, and the music played throughout the ceremony. The music truly made the ceremony a New Orleans style celebration. During the ceremony, I understood what “music is life” meant.

It was our honor and also a pity to be a part of the last Unified Ceremony that President Cowen hosted. Even though I attended Tulane a short while under Mr. Cowen, I knew that during the 16 years he had fought every battle that he thought he must win. I understand how hard it was to bring Tulane back to life after the disastrous hurricane. The moment he expressed thanks to his wife for her company and support was so touching, defining what love really is.

I would like to say that I learned valuable lessons about life during the ceremony. President Cowen’s difficulty saying goodbye taught us dedication. The Second Lieutenant taught us that ordinariness can breed greatness. Wynton Marsalis taught us to live with difficulties before success. I felt inspired the entire ceremony, and I will keep that feeling forever.

Yufei Jiao (Jeffery), MFIN Alum

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