Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts upon my son’s graduation from Tufts University June 2, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Caleb returns to his seat after graduating from Tufts University School of Engineering with a bachelor of science degree in computer science.

Caleb returns to his seat after graduating from Tufts University School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science on May 22.

HE’S GRADUATED. The son. My youngest. Through four years of college with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Tufts University in Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts.

Posing afterward atop the roof of the Tufts library with the Boston skyline some 10 miles in the distance.

Posing afterward atop the roof of the Tufts library with the Boston skyline some 10 miles in the distance.

I am thankful. Grateful that Caleb was given the opportunity to attend such a noted private research university as a selected transfer student. Grateful for the academic challenges he needed. Grateful for the financial gifts that enabled him to attend an institution where the annual cost of tuition far exceeds our household income.

After attending college for a year at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Caleb was accepted as a transfer student into the highly-competitive Tufts University.

After attending college for a year at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Caleb was accepted as a transfer student into the highly-competitive Tufts University and two other noted Boston colleges.

He’s grown into a strong young man of whom I am immensely proud. I am proud of his ability to leave the familiarity of Minnesota to attend college half a country away. He knew no one and learned on his own to navigate greater Boston.

Caleb graduated in four years. Had he stayed at NDSU, he would have finished in three.

Caleb graduated in four years. Had he stayed at NDSU, he would have finished in three. However, Tufts did not accept all of his college credits from high school and NDSU.

I am proud that he graduated in four years, magna cum laude.

Caleb poses in front of the school mascot, Jumbo. And, yes, that would be Jumbo of circus fame. This latest sculpture of the elephant was recently installed at Tufts.

Caleb poses in front of the school mascot, Jumbo of circus fame. This latest sculpture of the elephant was recently installed at Tufts.

I am proud, too, that he loves to learn. Caleb craves expanding his knowledge. He hopes for a research career with plans to some day attend graduate school. He’s interviewing for jobs in the Boston area. Any place would be fortunate to have him as an employee. And I’m not just saying that because I am Caleb’s mom. I have seen his focus and determination when working on tech projects. He is a problem solver, an innovator, a young man seeking solutions and answers and better ways of doing things. He wants to make a difference in this world.

Students in the School of Engineering gather for that school's commencement ceremony.

Students in The School of Engineering gather for that school’s commencement ceremony.

Commencement speaker, Emmy-award winning actor Hank Azaria who voiced numerous characters on the TV show The Simpsons, offered some good advice to graduates like Caleb. He advised the 160th Tufts graduating class to calm down, trust their instincts and they will, at the end of the day, know what to do.

The commencement ceremony begins at The School of Engineering, Tufts University.

The commencement ceremony begins for The School of Engineering, Tufts University.

Graduation is a time of adjustment and change. A scary time in many ways as young people leave the security of the educational setting. It is a time of change for Caleb and for me.

The message on this balloon probably fit the feelings of many students.

The message on this balloon probably fits the feelings of many students.

As my son continues on his life’s journey, I wish for him contentment, peace and happiness. I want him to always be passionate about his life’s chosen work, to feel joy in getting up each morning.

My husband, Randy, waits for the first of two commencement ceremonies to begin.

My husband, Randy, waits for the first of two commencement ceremonies to begin. We drove 3,029 miles round trip to attend Caleb’s graduation.

And I want him to know that, above all, he is deeply loved by his family back here in Minnesota and in Wisconsin.

FYI: Check back tomorrow for more graduation photos followed the next day by a tour of Tufts University, Medford/Somerville campus.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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28 Responses to “Thoughts upon my son’s graduation from Tufts University”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    Caleb – we are all proud of you! Congratulations!

  2. Marneymae Says:

    A hearty congratulations to Caleb & you all
    (He looks so much like Randy!)

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    The “Like” button just doesn’t suffice! A wonderful tribute to a son who has “stayed the course”, supported by and blessed with a very special Mom & Dad/family!!! Sending tears-of-joy hugs…………….

  4. Congrats Caleb – You Did It and Make Your Parents So Proud – Here’s to the Next Chapter – Adventure On!!!

  5. Deb Says:

    Congratulations Caleb! You did your parents proud and looking forward to “Oh, the places you will go!”

  6. Littlesundog Says:

    What an exciting time for Caleb. I liked the words of the commencement speaker – sage advice for all of us really. I can feel the happiness and pride in your words, Audrey. He’s an amazing young man.

  7. DeLores Johnson Says:

    Congratulations, Caleb for achieving your dream. I have a sneaking hunch we will be reading about you in the future for making a ” big” difference in our world.

    Congratulations also to your parents who raised such fine young man, who knew what he wanted and worked hard to get it.

  8. Carol Says:

    Congratulations to all of you!
    Your son is the graduate, but his loving family is the force that started him on his path and supported him to this point. And yet, this is only the beginning!

  9. Dorothy Bowman Says:

    We are very proud of Caleb and know he will be a success at what ever he does. His staying on the east coast is fantastic. A great area in which to grow. The Boston area is very good. I am sure it was a hard trip for you and also very interesting. And of course you do remember visiting us in New Jersey all of those years ago. The east coast is a great place to live. Craig is still there. Love to all of you. Dorothy

    • Of course, I remember that trip nearly 40 years ago to visit you. That time we drove straight through, we five college students. I don’t know how we did it. What a long journey; it was exhausting.

      The East Coast, for now, seems a good fit for Caleb. Hopefully he will land a job soon so he can start paying his own living expenses. It costs A LOT to live in Boston.

  10. Don Says:

    Congratulations to Caleb and the Proud Parents! The next great adventure of life begins!

  11. Sue Ready Says:

    Well I had tears in my eyes reading this and yes well worth the some 3,000 miles round trip to be a part of this special moment in his life. Your support in being there I am sure was quite meaningful. His future is wide open with possibilities and how I envy all these new opportunities and paths to choose.
    You and Randy were so lucky to have been part of this special day.

  12. Beth Ann Says:

    Congrats to Caleb and best wishes for a bright and successful post graduation future. I know it meant so much to him that you and Randy made the massive trip —when you said you were debating going I was so praying that you would make the decision to just do it and now you are so glad you did, right? It was a huge trip but such an important day in his life and yours. After all—without your support he would not have been able to be there in the first place. Such a great feeling to see our kids move to the next stage of life and be happy about the direction their lives are going. Congrats to all of you!

  13. Jackie Says:

    Caleb is a remarkable young man, I can tell how proud you are of your boy. Congratulations to Caleb and to you and Randy, two wonderful parents that helped to mold him into the man he is today.

    • Thank you, Jackie. You were of great help the summer Caleb worked for IBM in Rochester. Thank you for tipping him off to apartment options. That was the summer I met you and Rick and Audrey. I am blessed by your friendship.

  14. Congratulations Caleb and a job well done Mom and Dad


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