University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

When the Grads go marching in

2013 commencement
Photographs by Sally McCay

THE GREEN /
COMMENCEMENT

When the grads go marching in

Wynton Marsalis addresses Class of 2013

Heralding the passage of a college graduation, it’s a happy circumstance to have one of the world’s foremost trumpeters in the house. A crowd of approximately ten thousand gathered on the UVM Green May 19 to celebrate the achievements of more than three thousand UVM students receiving diplomas and passing from the ranks of students to alumni.

Musician Wynton Marsalis helped them mark the moment, delivering the University of Vermont 2013 commencement address with a heartfelt talk that was wise, wry, musical, and throughout—appropriately enough for the father of Simeon Marsalis, UVM Class of 2013—fatherly. Then the New Orleans native picked up his trumpet and played “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the crowd clapping time.
Wynton Marsalis
As Marsalis directly addressed his son Simeon and, on behalf of all of the parents in the crowd, all of the graduates, his voice wavered with emotion. “From every changed diaper to every sickness to every shoulder ride…” Marsalis said and paused to gather himself as the crowd applauded. “And every bedtime story, every fight with a curfew, over home, over habits. It’s hard, all of the triumphs and the failures rolled up into one. All of us, we thank you. All of you give meaning and depth to our lives and so many good times. We are so proud of you all and we fear for you. We fear because part of us is not ready to accept that you are grown. But you are. Still, to us, you will always be our baby. You will always be our child.”

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