Recently, the College celebrated its first full decade of operating. This year’s graduates, mostly devotees of Vaishnava parents, had worked hard to finish everything on time and enjoy their graduation ceremony. Seven graduates came through Bhaktivedanta College by completing a three-year degree in Vaishnava Theology.
The year boasted a lot of change. Students gained opportunities to raise their voices in more matters that concerned them, and a new curriculum for a degree in Education is ready to start in 2012-13.
As a treat for this year (and onward) the graduates were wearing academic regalia, the traditional dress of graduating students. They all marched in, one after another, to the packed venue in their bright blue attire. It was an interesting contrast, with their traditional Vaishnava attire slightly visible underneath. This indicated Bhaktivedanta College’s penetrating blend of East and West.
The staff and teachers made speeches, as did some parents of the graduates. Strimati Dasi flew all the way from Honolulu to be with her daughter Kumari Kunti, and she spoke at the graduation ceremony. Hrdaya Caitanya Dasa, the temple president of Radhadesh and co-GBC, also gave a speech, touched to see his son, Visvambar Caitanya, graduating. Hrdaya Caitanya now boasts two children as graduates. In June, Kumari Kunti and Visvambhara Caitanya are getting married.
Once the speeches were over and the hats were thrown, the graduates put on a film production and slide show, which contained some jokes and memories from their time at Bhaktivedanta College. Throughout everything, the assembled devotees and guests showered blessings on the students for their efforts. Everything was topped off with a kirtana led by the graduates and a prasada feast, cooked by students and the college staff.
Some of the college students had already flown home, but it was a touching scene. After everything, as a large group of the students sat on one big table eating pizza, cookies, and tea, they bounced balloons around on their fingertips.
Written by: Madhavendra Puri Dasa