It has been over a full week since the M.S. in Accounting (MSA) Class of 2017 participated in final exercises here in Charlottesville. For those who are unfamiliar, UVA spreads their graduation ceremonies over an entire weekend, beginning with a large ceremony for all graduates in select schools in the morning and then breaking out into school-specific ceremonies later in the day. The weekend began on Friday, before all ceremonies, with the Valedictory Exercises featuring the keynote speaker, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Juan Manual Santos, President of Colombia.
For the MSA students, a classy rooftop reception was put together at a local hot spot on the downtown mall, Commonwealth Sky Bar. All students in the program, their families, and even the professors were in attendance, making the reception a great last time for all of us to be together and reminisce on the good times throughout the past year. One of my favorite parts of this event was watching the professors meet each students’ families and putting together the pieces of what makes them who they are. This was the perfect event to get everyone ready to walk across the stage the following day.
Sunday morning, the day of the McIntire School of Commerce’s final exercises, came all too quickly after a full day of celebrating with our entire class. A unique quirk to UVA’s graduation is that on the morning of your ceremony, everyone meets on the Corner as a class before heading over to the Rotunda to begin lining up. Lining up, as you can imagine, is a process in itself. Overall it went smoothly, students were able to take class pictures, say hi to friends in other programs, and most importantly, call your parents to find out where they were in the sea of families on the other side of the Rotunda (lawn side).We finally were able to cross over the Rotunda to the lawn to head towards Old Cabell Hall. Another quirk to UVA’s graduation is that students will carry a funny or flashy balloon to help their families locate them in the sea of people. As graduate students from various undergraduate colleges and universities, we didn’t think much of this trend….well let me be the one to tell you, there were more balloons than the eye could see. As the ceremony kicked off, each degree was conferred and our class assembled in McIntire one last time to prepare for our individual ceremony. Those 45 minutes we spent together with Professor Roger Martin joking with us on our name pronunciations for when we cross the stage, will be one of the memories I cherish forever because for the last time we were all in the same element, in the same place, taking in our last couple of minutes together as a group after an exciting yet tough year.
We finally crossed the stage, one by one, hearing our classmates and parents cheer. The MSA Class of 2017 is truly a special group. As agreed to by many professors and others within the McIntire community, we were a very close class who struggled, laughed, cried, and succeeded together to become Masters of Accountancy. Cheers to you MSA Class of 2017, you deserve it!
-Written by Corey Parham, M.S. in Accounting 2017