A Homecoming at Commencement
By Sunil Gulati '81
Since my graduation in May 1981, I have been back to Lewisburg twice. The first time was in 1982 for Commencement (a few close friends were graduating), and the second was in 2001 when I met some of those same friends for a mini-reunion, this time with my family. In that same period, I have been in less-than-close contact with most of my classmates and have even missed sporting events when the Bison have visited Columbia, where I teach, which makes me something less than an ideal son of Bucknell. But in reality, Bucknell has always meant much more to me than the infrequent visits or contact with old friends would indicate. I still remember my first economics course and reflect fondly on my two political science courses, American Politics and International Relations, both with Stuart Rothenberg (longtime publisher and editor of D.C.-based The Rothenberg Political Report).
Many of those positive memories of Bucknell — or, by now, is it memories of other memories? — came back to me a couple of years ago when I participated in a University-sponsored leadership forum in New York City. While it was an honor to join the forum with President Bravman and three fellow Bucknellians, it was the post-event discussion with students that was the highlight of the evening. Their enthusiasm — after having driven from Lewisburg — came shining through.
It's been 32 years since my graduation from Bucknell. The four years between being guided by an R.A. on 4 Trax and serving as an R.A. on 4 Swartz seems a much longer period than those 32 years. Perhaps the time between now and Commencement in May will give me further opportunity to reflect on how those four directly impacted the following 32. And maybe, just maybe, my visit to campus for Bucknell's 163rd Commencement will give me a chance to say thanks more formally to a place that has shaped much of my life.