Response from a graduate

Jamilyn Hall, Opinions Editor

Jamilyn Hall

The Lexington Herald-Leader recently received a letter to the editor that sparked discussion. To summarize the letter titled “Rudeness at UK graduation,” Ruth Ward, who attended one of UK’s graduation ceremonies, wrote, “I have attended many college graduations over the years. But one thing stood out at this graduation. Once the graduates’ names were called and they received their degrees, more than 85 percent of them left the arena instead of returning to their seats.”

Ward also wrote, “For all of the bragging about Big Blue Nation, it seems UK is graduating Big Blue Babies. What is being taught regarding consideration and respect for others? Did those graduates not think about others whose names were yet to be called?”

This may seem rude to leave the ceremony after one’s name has been called, but as a graduate of UK, and someone who walked on May 8, I want to give an explanation — not an explanation for everyone present that day but as a sole UK alumna.

Graduation is a time of reflection and celebration. Graduation is a time to reflect on those who helped you get to where you are and to celebrate what the graduate has achieved. So in this time to reflect, I want to say that none of the thousands of new UK graduates sitting with me helped me get to where I am today.

With saying this, I apologize that it seemed rude to walk out of Rupp Arena after walking across the stage and leaving before the ceremony was over. But it is not selfish of a graduate to want to spend time with their families who have come from different parts of the country to celebrate this important point in their life — a point of achievement.

Not only was I able to soak up the experience of graduation and be happy for my fellow graduates, I must admit that it was my grandfather who worked for years in a factory to help me make it through college, not the Arts and Science majors sitting across the room from me. Nor it was the random girl sitting beside me from the College of Communication and Information who told me to keep going and that “All the strength you need is right inside you,” but my grandmother who said these very words.

Furthermore, it was not President Eli Capilouto who scraped enough gas money to drive to Lexington to see one person in particular walk the line, but my single mother of three children who did just that. 

I apologize Ms. Ruth that you were upset about graduates leaving from the commencement ceremony early. But I will not apologize for leaving Rupp Arena early to be with those who did everything in their power to get me to where I am today, a graduate of the University of Kentucky.  

Jamilyn Hall is the assistant summer editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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