Monday, May 12, 2014

A Journey's First Step

"The university is not the campus, not the buildings on the campus,
not the faculties, not the students of any one time —
not one of these or all of them.
The university consists of all who come into and go forth from her halls,
who are touched by her influence and who carry on her spirit.
Wherever you go, the university goes with you.
Wherever you are at work, there is the university at work."
- The Norlin Charge

Twenty-five years ago today, sitting next to Alex "Schneedz" Schreiber, my great friend and roommate for three of the four years we spent in Boulder, I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Truth be told, had you asked me at the beginning of my senior year at W-H where I saw myself graduating from college four years later, CU would not have come up in conversation. 

My connection to the university grew out of coincidence.  But for Jill not loathing the year she spent in Indiana as a freshman at Notre Dame and transferring to CU after her freshman year, it would not have been on my radar at all.  But for Doug Flutie and Gerard Phelan pulling off one of the most improbable finishes in the history of college football on Thanksgiving weekend 1984 in the Orange Bowl against Jimmy Johnson's Miami Hurricanes, I might have fulfilled the Irish Catholic Male's destiny of getting accepted at Boston College instead of getting wait-listed in the avalanche of 17,000+ applications they had for their freshman class. 

She did.  BC did.  I did not. 

It was Jill who, when she came home at Christmas brought a CU-Boulder application with her, suggested CU as a destination for me.  W-H had been home for me since the 5th grade, a quaint, cozy and sometimes inadvertently suffocating environment in which to attend high school.  Jill told me simply that if I applied to CU I would likely get accepted.  She told me also that if I went to Boulder to visit I would never want to go anywhere else. 

I did.  I did.  I did not.

Among my closest friends to this day are those with whom I lived in close quarters at CU, including Loku and Jay.  While I could not prevail upon either of my two to attend CU, I take great joy in the fact that Suzanne humored the old man and applied (I still have her letter of acceptance framed at home) and Rob ended up starting his life with Jess only an hour or so up the road from Boulder, which has enabled me to do three things I never imagined having the opporunity to do:  Run the Bolder Boulder 10K into Folsom Field with my son and sit with him on two separate occasions and cheer for the Buffs at a home football game. 

President Norlin was right.  I carry CU with me in my heart every day, irrespective of where I am and irrespective of what I do.  And I shall always do so. 

Shoulder to Shoulder.  Same as it ever was...

Norlin Library - West Entrance

...and by the way Boston College, our miraculous finish stomps the snot out of yours.  Not just because Keith Jackson was at the microphone for it either.  Just sayin'.


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