After 14 years of watching Jaki excel on her educational path, we had the great fortune to participate in her graduation from Makerere University. We’ve participated in many large U.S. university graduations with family members in the past, but this one was truly unique.
Many things were similar – we were on a big, prestigious college campus, and we were surrounded by proud parents and excited grads. Some of the delightful differences included the Chancellor and faculty being processed into Freedom Square by dancers and drummers, 4,500 attendants proudly singing the Ugandan and Makerere University anthems and a beautiful choir’s musical interludes. Shaded under enormous tents, parents and family watched much of the proceedings on large screen TVs as the stage was quite a distance away.
As three of the few non-African attendees, we clearly stood out but no one around us made us feel out of place. We were greeted with smiles and warmth, as we all basked in the glow of pride for the graduates.
My favorite moment was when Jaki’s College of Veterinary Medicine graduates were called upon to recite their oath of practice and one-by-one each student was named. When everyone was called, a yelp of joy rang out and the small class cheered one another. Later, we’d capture a moment of pure rapture as her class hurled their tasseled caps skyward. This was the culmination of five grueling years of study and the beginning of a new chapter – new challenges and new opportunities.