I don’t know how many of you watched the Convocation at Virginia Tech yesterday. It was mostly good, with poignant words from Virginia Tech President Steger, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, and President Bush. There were some weak spots, and an excess of specifically religious sentiments (I know it’s a convocation…), but overall it was wonderful. As Gov. Kaine said, the current students and faculty of Virginia Tech have shown the world that we will not bow to a victim mentality. We are hurt, but we will heal. And the character and class shown by the students braving the media vultures made me proud to be a Hokie. I don’t know that I could answer the same inane, insensitive questions over and over again with such grace and dignity.
The convocation really got to me during Nikki Giovanni’s speech and the moments after. As she started, her immediate passion startled me. It was what we needed, but not what I expected. In the middle I thought she was going to go off the rails with her words, but she danced the fine line that makes emotion and creativity dance together. She was perfect for the moment. We ARE Virginia Tech, indeed.
The most cathartic part of the program was the spontaneous (?) eruption of “Let’s Go Hokies!”. I’m sure it struck many viewers as a tad bizarre, but the Hokies knew. I got goosebumps, followed by a few tears. I’m sure many other universities have the same sense of loyalty and camaraderie, but this was ours. That audience wasn’t telling the world anything. They told each other, and the rest of the Hokies, that we’re going to be alright. Not today or tomorrow, but eventually, we will be alright.