Last Son Standing -Cap and Gown and All

Well, it has been a long time coming to the pages of ye old Fritzwinkle, but Ali and I recently took a short jaunt south to Charlottesville, Virginia for my youngest brother’s graduation. That’s right, the kid donned the cap and gown on a beautiful day to walk the Lawn and fetch a handsome parchment, proving he learned more than how to drink. I have long thought University of Virginia to be one of the most beautiful campuses and this graduation day it did not disappoint, as the pictures will attest.

Photo: Waiting on the UVA Lawn

Photo: UVA Rotunda Colonnade Photo: Professors

Photo: Waiting Near the Rotunda

The cool thing is how the graduation day is broken up with a much larger, more informal ceremony of sorts, where a larger body of students files down a wide passageway that is the Lawn of the Academical Village. This is the original section of the campus designed by Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson. With a significant rotunda as a backdrop and an assortment of classical colonnades flanking the wide green-space that runs about a quarter of a mile in length, the students descended the stairs of the rotunda. A variety of the photos capture the classical beauty of the place and event.

Photo: Down the Steps of the Rotunda

Photo: Graduates Walking the Lawn

Photo: Glimpse of the Rotunda

After the mid-day ceremony on the Lawn, the graduates got to the real business of pinching their parchments with ecstatic glee, fully realizing that all the work, stress, and procrastination actually achieved something after all. No more Mountain Dew induced all-nighters to cram all those lecture notes and undone textbook readings into an alcohol softened brain, in hopes of just getting through this one test to pass the godforsaken course. Aaron’s School of Sociology convened indoors in a rather lovely hall, which was also a welcome relief from the sun and heat. So, amongst a neoclassical colonnade, my family sat and watched the graduates proceed across the boards of an auditorium stage, with an enormous reproduction of Raphael’s School of Athens as a backdrop, adding some solemnity to the occasion. It was an impressive scene in which my baby brother capped his collegiate career.

Photo: School of Athens

Photo: Aaron Getting Diploma

Of course, thanks to Ali for many of these photos, she’s the best. I wish I had more photos of her from this graduation. However, she has assumed the role of primary photographer of human subjects, while I stick mainly to scenery and still life-like shots. As she lamented, here is the only one.

Photo: The Family

Photo: The Haas Men

Ultimately, congratulations are in order for my kid brother. Well done, Aaron! Also impressive, my parents deserve some well earned credit for getting three sons through bachelor’s degrees and footing the bill for the majority of all three.

Photo: Proud Parents with their Graduate Photo: A Little Love from the Baby Boy

As my Dad remarked to Ali, he felt pretty damn good, “All of my friends that stayed in the city, none of their kids finished college and all three of mine got degrees.” Not bad for a couple of kids who, before turning twenty-five, fled the city, found a way to buy a house in the suburbs with virtually no money down and the promise of a VA loan, so they could put me, a kindergartner, in what at that time was one of the best school systems in the area. Just over twenty-five years later their youngest son made good on their risky decision that would involve more work, sacrifice, and money than they could imagine or we three can yet fully understand. So, congratulations to you to Mom and Dad. You deserve it, perhaps most of all!

Photo: The Three Haas Graduates

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