I did not get a cap and gown. My plan, along with about six other seniors in the orchestra, was to play the music, listen to the speeches, and go home. And maybe get a handshake from Prof. Walter Welke, the conductor and one of the best people to be part of my life, ever.
We took our seats in the orchestra, on the stage, behind the podium. We warmed up. We tuned up. Prof. Welke points to each graduating member one by one, and tells us to stand up. He reaches down into a box at his side, and throws each of us a gown, and then a cap, and calls for a round of applause from our fellow musicians.
That was sweet, and since it was Prof. Welke, I was only a tiny bit miffed to have my cover broken.
We played music. 5,000 people came up on stage to get a diploma and a handshake from Gov. Dan Evans. I had met the governor several times while covering the state capitol for journalism classes, and liked him. Cool guy, a civil engineer, not a lawyer politico.
After the long procession was over, we settled back to listen to Gov. Evans speak. Instead, he turned around 180°, smiled at us, and gave us our diplomas individually, announcing our names into the mike.
Then he gave his speech.