Connections - Winter 2018 - 28

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>

choices

Graduation
Has Meaning
BY JOHN HARRISON,
CAE, CMP
SPRINGTIME IS JUST around the
corner, and that means graduations.
And that means graduation
ceremonies and, of course,
commencement addresses. There
are some such speeches that are
inspirational and make the news. I
frequently read those and have even
been moved to wonder what I would
write if given such an opportunity.
Would I bring the newly-minted
28

> Winter 2018

graduates great wisdom and
inspiration? Or would I sink low
and use the chance to nitpick at
some of the things that are growing
nuisances. Here goes:
Ladies and gentlemen,
congratulations! I'm here to provide
you some parting advice as you
leave this great institution. In the
interest of time I shall use only twothirds of the tried and true formula
of tell-em-what-you're-going-to-say/
say-it/and-then-tell-em-that-you'vesaid-it. I'm going to speak to both
sides of your brain and impart
droplets of existential knowledge
and then tell you the meaning of
life without any summary at the
end. So, please don't wait until
the phrase "in conclusion" to pay
attention because there will be no
summary at the end.

First, all the women in the
audience please stand up. Now repeat
after me, "I-state your name-am
a proud alumna of this university."
Good. Now, all of you ladies together
say, "We are proud alumnae of this
university." Right, that's pronounced,
alum-nay, by the way. Now, if the
ladies will please sit down and
all the men please stand up. Now,
gentlemen, repeat after me, "I-state
your name-am a proud alumnus of
this university." That's good. Now,
guys, all together say, "We are proud
alumni of this university." Perfect.
OK, everyone please stand up, and
say together, "We are proud alumni
of this university."
I bet some activist out there is
wondering why is the masculine
plural, alumni, used for everybody.
My answer is this: The common and
mundane generally takes on the
masculine, and the special and lifebearing takes on the feminine. Thus,
some say, "you guys," for everyone;
most use "gay," the male version, for
gay, lesbian, etc., and originally we
said "a person, he," instead of the
more cumbersome, "a person, he or
she." Ships, airplanes, nations, and
yes, our mother earth, are special
and feminine because they carry life.
Please respect that. Unless we in the
workforce, in our speech, and in our
daily lives accommodate and honor
motherhood, our future generations
may not be plural.
Speaking of plural, when you
combine with another person in
marriage or in a sentence, let it
bring out your best. Do not say, "Me
and Mike are going to the store."
Think about what you would say
if you were going by yourself,
without Mike. Would you say, "Me
is going to the store?" No. And do
not say, "They gave the prize to
Mary and I." Would you say, "They
gave the prize to I?" Treat the
concept and the grammar of the
team properly; let not combination
cause sloppiness. When together in
a partnership, the rules of civility
and pleasantness are important.
Your grammar should reflect
this attention. You have now been


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Connections - Winter 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Connections - Winter 2018

GSAE News & Events
New Members
Living Legends: Jim Fowler, CAE; David Ellis, CAE; and Tara Morrison, CAE, CMP
Moving a Convention with Two Weeks’ Notice
What to Do First in an Active Security Threat
GSAE Presents Annual Awards
GSAE 100th Anniversary Gala & Holiday Luncheon
Meetings Tips & Tricks
Destination: Sandestin, Panama City, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Choices: Graduation Has Meaning
Advertiser.com
Index of Advertisers
Connections - Winter 2018 - Intro
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover1
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover2
Connections - Winter 2018 - 3
Connections - Winter 2018 - 4
Connections - Winter 2018 - 5
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE News & Events
Connections - Winter 2018 - 7
Connections - Winter 2018 - New Members
Connections - Winter 2018 - Living Legends: Jim Fowler, CAE; David Ellis, CAE; and Tara Morrison, CAE, CMP
Connections - Winter 2018 - 10
Connections - Winter 2018 - 11
Connections - Winter 2018 - Moving a Convention with Two Weeks’ Notice
Connections - Winter 2018 - 13
Connections - Winter 2018 - 14
Connections - Winter 2018 - 15
Connections - Winter 2018 - What to Do First in an Active Security Threat
Connections - Winter 2018 - 17
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE Presents Annual Awards
Connections - Winter 2018 - 19
Connections - Winter 2018 - 20
Connections - Winter 2018 - GSAE 100th Anniversary Gala & Holiday Luncheon
Connections - Winter 2018 - 22
Connections - Winter 2018 - 23
Connections - Winter 2018 - Meetings Tips & Tricks
Connections - Winter 2018 - 25
Connections - Winter 2018 - Destination: Sandestin, Panama City, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Connections - Winter 2018 - 27
Connections - Winter 2018 - Choices: Graduation Has Meaning
Connections - Winter 2018 - 29
Connections - Winter 2018 - Index of Advertisers
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover3
Connections - Winter 2018 - cover4
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