culture and the Reggio way of caring
for and educating children taught me
so much. My favorite memory of that
trip is visiting several early childhood
programs and classrooms. There
I witnessed what it means when a
community invests in education, what
it looks like when a community has
affirmed that the right to education is
the right of citizenship and adults hold
an image of a child as a citizen from
the very beginning. In Reggio Emilia,
the right to education and citizenship
guide adult decisions. This is how I
learned what is possible for children.
One week ago in the last class of
this graduate program, my classmate
and friend Linnea made a few comments that I’d like to share with you
because I think this applies to each
one of us. She is thankful for knowing each of the members of our class,
and that the experience of sharing our
thoughts and feelings throughout the
semester helped her to gain a deeper
understanding of the multiple perspectives that are present in work with
children. The most penetrating part
of what Linnea said was that from
now on, for the rest of her life, she
would recognize each of us when she
encounters particular students, parents
and families. In recognizing each of us
in them, she will be able make a connection, to show her understanding of
each child and family, and ultimately,
do better for children in her care.
For all of this: broadening of mind
and heart, building of skills, relation-
ships with faculty and classmates,
I am profoundly grateful. John F.
Kennedy said, “As we express our
gratitude, we must never forget that
the highest appreciation is not to
My fellow graduates, the Towson
University College of Education offers
us many words to live by—courage,
commitment, relationships, caring,
multiple perspectives, connections
with children, meaning and purpose.
And most important, as
Dr. Berkeley, professor of early
childhood education taught us,
the professional commitment to
Thank you and good luck to each
one of you.
Bill Murray was the
speaker for the College
of Fine Arts and
Communication at the
2 p.m. Commencement
What an honor to stand before you
today—something I never expected.
As you can probably tell, I am not
your typical graduate student. You’re
probably asking yourself: What is
somebody like my grandfather doing
up there receiving a graduate degree
in music when he should be enjoying retirement, reading, relaxing on
the beach or golf course, or doing
something other than going to school?
I guess my answer is, “Why not get
a degree in music? Among the many
things that I enjoy doing are learning
new things and, yes, going to school.
You’re probably thinking: This guy
has got to be crazy—going to school.
You’ve got to be kidding!
When people ask me what I am
doing, I say that I am in my second
life. For the past nine years Towson
has been the centerpiece of my second
life. In the summer of 2002, I made
a decision to take my life in a different direction. There were two things
that I wanted to try. One was to study
music and, in particular, jazz; second,
I wanted to see if I could teach at the
college level. In the fall of 2002, I took
my first music class to test the waters.
I became addicted and decided to apply for admission and to my amazement was accepted.
For the next six years I studied
music and graduated from Towson in
May, 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in
music. I enjoyed this journey except
for the time I was wondering if I
would actually pass Musicianship II.
I did, barely. The other challenge
came from my three children who
kept asking me why it was taking
more than four years to graduate.
The discussion went something like:
“Dad isn’t it about time you gradu-
ated? I remember you telling me in
so many words that I had to finish in
four years. Sound familiar?” But like
any good Dad, I just ignored them and
went on my own way. After graduat-
ing in 2008, not having had enough of
school yet, I applied for the graduate
program in music and here I am today
getting ready to graduate again. Yes,
I am slightly on the deranged side.