Photo: Mike Peters

Every year before convocation and commencement season begins, I wonder if I will be able to see an event that I’ve photographed many times before with fresh eyes. Since 2003, I’ve documented 43 convocations, but each one has been different enough to keep me interested and on my toes.

This year, at the College of Education and Human Services convocation, while the students were marching into the Amphitheater and taking their places on the steps, I turned to the platform where the dignitaries, VIPs, faculty, and staff were assembled. In that moment I noticed how President Cole’s expression radiated pride and accomplishment as she watched another group of Montclair State University graduates about to go forth into the world.

As I took my photographs, I got to thinking about the tens of thousands of graduates that I have seen sit on these same steps at their convocations. I realized that as much as this celebration is a reward for the students and their families, it is also a reward for the faculty, staff, and administrators whose good work helps these young women and men get to this point.

It gives us a warm feeling to know that we’ve contributed in some small way to the joy that surrounds everyone in attendance. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. It’s why we’re here.

Mike Peters
University Photographer