Sunday, May 18, 2008

NYU Plus-10

Ten years ago this week, yours truly graduated from college. In one sense, it's difficult to believe that much time has passed. My memories of college are still so vivid.

But, in another sense, as someone now in his third career, I know the years of the past decade were busy and diverse. Jobs, friendships, campaigns, moves, parties, deaths and births -- a lot happened.

All this came home for me yesterday while I was at the Alumni Day at my alma mater, New York University. It's now an annual event held on the Saturday after commencement. This year, the NYU Class of 1998 (as well as the other special anniversary years) were toasted.

The day began with a discussion featuring NYU President John Sexton with television commentator Chris Matthews (an NYU parent) and Democrat strategist Bob Shrum. About 80 percent of the hour was spent debating the inside politics of the Democratic presidential primary and perceptions of Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. While it was generally interesting, I thought they could have looked more at the impact young voters and independent voters are having on the 2008 race. A marker of the conversation: the word "Internet" was not mentioned once.

During Alumni Day, I also attended a funny and touching reading by the author E.L. Doctorow and heard remarks by the actor/director/author Bob Balaban, who received the NYU College of Arts & Science Distinguished Alumni Award. (I know him best for his role as the American movie-maker in "Gosford Park.") Some other highlights included the choral alumni open sing, the evening shin-dig at the Puck Building and the after-party at B-Bar.

Friday night also included NYU-related fun: a reunion of Washington Square News staffers from the '90s followed by a going-away party for Tarek Ibrahim (one of the residents who lived on my floor when I was an R.A. at Goddard Hall). Tarek, who just completed his master's degree in architecture, is headed to Berlin to start his new career.

A final note: On Saturday afternoon, while walking down the steps in NYU's Kimmel Center for University Life, I took the photo below. It shows Washington Square Park with the controversial renovations under way. In the earth, you can see the outline of where the historic fountain has been repositioned -- now in line with the arch:

A little too perfect, maybe?

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