Today I watched nine of our students graduate — nine people who came here to Goddard College with a passion for studying something of their own design, and who, through the process of looking deep and wide and trusting where they were led, found their way to astonishing projects.
- Mike Alvarez wrote a stunning thesis on the connections between creativity and suicide, looking at what the act of creation can mean (or not mean) for healing.
- Jame Vincent created a collage of poetry, prose poems, fiction and dialogue along with a critical paper to study the intersections of exile, homecoming, language and creativity.
- Bernard Carey, in studying the absence of fathers in African-American homes, ended up co-writing a play with his daughter, who he had abandoned as a child; a performance of great healing and courage.
- Amanda Lacson took her study of mythology and love into a study of why and how we need to examine cultural stories about romantic love and into a powerful collection of poetry, prose and other kinds of writing exploring mythology and love in her own life.
- Jaki Elmo, through the lens of speculative fiction, explored how fiction can help us navigate and see anew the possibilities of our world and she happened to write an entire speculative fiction novel along the way.
- Angela Davis studied how mainstream European culture in the Middle Ages monster-ized the “other” — particularly Moslems and Jews, and what this says about our time today.
- Jenny Gundy wrote a memoir about embodiment, earth and homecoming and wrote about ecology and culture.
- Jes Wright looked at how motherhood could be a source of liberation and creativity as well as restricting through poetry and prose.
- Griffin Brady created the Slyboots Guide to Living and Drumming — a curriculum based on his world-wide study of drumming across cultures.
As I watched these people give presentations in the last few days and graduate today, I felt such pride and love for their work. All of these graduates brought such bravery and vision to their work, giving themselves over to their heart’s calling, what their life is leading them toward.
It was also wonderful to hear our keynote speaker, Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity, speak about giving back to our community most of what was given to us, and seeing sustainability and love not as a trend that will come and go, but as a place to land and live.
What was most moving to me, however, was watching the graduates’ families — some flown in from across the U.S. and Canada — who piled into almost all the presentations. The families became their own kind of family, getting to know each other, encouraging one another’s graduating members and delighting in what all these students had achieved.
Pictures, from top, the graduates; faculty members Francis Charet & Karen Campbell with Jame Vincent; DawN Crandell, daughter of Bernard, with Ruth Farmer, IMA program director, and Barbara Vacarr, Goddard President;Jim Sparrell, faculty member, and Mike Alvarez & Bernard Carey; Jim Merkel.