Tag Archives: liberal arts

A Commencement Story, or There Are No Small Conversations

It had been a long Sunday and I was leaving the commencement exercises and walking to my car.  I heard a voice call “Dr. Lehfeldt.” The voice belonged to a student I had advised at least five years ago. At the time he was a chemical engineering major, but wasn’t happy and wondered “what one could do” with a History major. We had talked about transferable skills and how he could do just about anything he wanted to with a History BA. I had encouraged him to take his enthusiasm for the study of history and translate it into the kinds of habits of mind and abilities that were desirable to employers–things like critical and creative thinking and cogent and clear oral and written communication.

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He had graduated that day at our commencement ceremonies with his History degree and had already started a full-time job with the Cleveland Clinic as an analyst. “You were right,” he said, “and I just wanted to thank you.”

I thanked him for stopping me and letting me know.

And I haven’t stopped smiling since.

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