Jordan Kessler

In just one week I will be graduating from Miami University. As I was sitting with friends the other night at Skipper’s, I realized something-I’m really going to miss Miami.

When I was looking at colleges my senior year of high school I wanted something close to home. I was voted “Most Likely to Live in Fairfield, Ohio Forever” in high school and was fully content with living up to that superlative. I chose Miami because of its proximity to family and friends. I chose Miami because of the beautiful campus. I chose Miami because of its reputation for academic excellence. Although I hadn’t realized it, I shouldn’t have chosen Miami.

My first-year, I quickly realized that putting a Kerry/Edwards sign on my Emerson Hall door would lend itself useful for phallic graffiti from my neighbors. I realized that I didn’t see many people who looked different than me and I realized that there were few RedHawk sporting events worth attending.

By the end of my sophomore year I was ready for a change of pace and looking to transfer to a different school. As I was considering where to transfer to, immediately I looked to my dad’s alma mater-University of Texas. While many of my high school friends were lobbying for a transfer to Ohio State, I quickly realized Austin is far superior to Columbus, Mack Brown will always be better than Jim Tressel and Bevo is a much better mascot than Brutus. In all seriousness, I was ready for the move. I had my application all filled out and ready to send to UT when I thought-is this worth it?

Although I was disappointed in many aspects of Miami, I began to consider what Miami had offered me. I was involved in Campus Activities Council and The Miami Student. I continued my days of mascotting on the fields of Fairfield High School to performing as “Swoop” at hockey games. If I transferred to UT, one of the nation’s largest universities, would I be able to perform as Bevo? Would I be able to work at The Daily Texan? Would I be able to forge relationships with professors at UT as I had done at Miami? Although UT has so much too offer, I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to be as involved at such a large school.

Once I came to this realization, I threw away my application and began to restructure my experiences at Miami.

I changed my major from business to communication in hopes for a curriculum that better fit my personality. I am so glad I did. Professors such as Marj and Larry Nadler, Elizabeth Wilson and Jim Patterson have really provided excellent insight into the communication field. Thank you for everything you have done for me.

The change to strategic communication also enhanced my experiences at The Miami Student. Professors such as Sacha Bellman, Annie Blair and Richard Campbell have given me an incredible understanding of the issues facing the news industry locally and worldwide.

Changing to the College of Arts and Science included a foreign language requirement. It was with the patience and care of professors Ruri Hirayama and Yuri Naito that I was able to learn Japanese. Those courses inspired my trip, just one year ago, to travel throughout Japan. Thank you both for the insight into a culture that I understood so little about but now have an incredible respect for.

Finally, as I sat in a Miami Plan botany course, I realized how fascinated I was with the material. After a discussion with the professor, I declared a thematic sequence in botany. I began to take more and more classes and eventually decided to add botany as a second major. With the help of professors such as Alfredo and Nancy Huerta, Rich Moore, Jack Keegan and John Kiss, I am leaving Miami having gained a better understanding of how important an understanding of science is in today’s society. This section would not be complete without mentioning Nik Money, a professor of whom I have the greatest respect for. With Nik’s help, myself and several other students at Miami, conducted research on an organism that very little is known about. The research, so profound, was published in an academic journal. Thank you Nik and the other wonderful faculty in the botany department for truly challenging me intellectually!

Next Friday, I will be the first grandchild in my family to earn a college degree. While many claim that a degree is just a piece of paper, I will leave Oxford knowing my college degree is much more than that. My college degree is from Miami University. The passion and dedication of the faculty and staff at Miami is embedded in my college degree. My college degree is one-of-a-kind because it could have only been attained at this wonderful school buried in the Heart of it All. My college degree has been the best experience of my life.