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How to cover Commencement? It's a question every alumni magazine staff asks itself every spring. How do we turn a fresh eye on an event that is of obvious significance to the graduating class but happens much the same every year? That's one reason I was happy to hear from India Lowres, director of Commencement, who called to tell me about Tom Wheatley, the carpentry shop supervisor, and his adventures with the ceremonial mace table ("A Tradition in the Making," page 16). It was a fun story to report and to write, and it certainly is unlike any other Commencement story I've read.

But there was another, more important reason I was glad for India's call. This is the first issue of the magazine for which we've dropped the "interim" from my title. Taking the helm of a publication with the history and reputation that this one enjoys is certainly a challenge — slightly intimidating perhaps, but also quite exciting. As the new editor, I find it gratifying to trade stories with people, like Tom and India, who care deeply for this institution, and I look forward to telling more stories like theirs.

Also gratifying is hearing from our readers. To be sure, you don't always like everything we do, and you let us know. On more than one occasion, though, when I've e-mailed an unhappy reader to ask permission to publish a letter, the response has been, first, surprise to hear from me, followed by concern that I'm offended by their comments. Believe me, I'm not. Your feedback is so important to me and to the rest of the staff; without subscription numbers or newsstand sales, it's how we know if we're doing a good job or not. For that reason, I hope you will consider the magazine a two-way communication and continue to call, e-mail, and write.

Finally, I want to congratulate the magazine's staff for bringing home three medals in the 2007 Council for Advancement and Support of Education awards competition: a silver medal for periodical staff writing, and gold medals for senior writer Dale Keiger's profile of a husband-and-wife indie rock band ["This is Betty Dylan," November] and for a story by Corbin Gwaltney Fellow Virginia Hughes, A&S '06 (MA), about a poet raised in a deaf household ["An Ear for Poetry," June]. Way to go, guys!

Return to June 2007 Table of Contents

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