Melany Mason receives degreeThis one’s a little harder. My mom is not a person who comes into the limelight as easily as my dad does. And it’s mother’s day, and she’s not here. And I love milestones, and confluence, and there’s a lot of confluence in that for me.

She says, “The college has always been a presence in our lives. We came to settle in Vermont for our summers after summering in Deer Isle, Maine for many years. Frank Stout and family came to visit us there and brought a huge basket of delicious black berries and we thought that any place that could produce such wonderful berries should be considered as a possibility for our summer residence.

“The Stouts helped us find a realtor who had just listed our farm. It was headed for a Connecticut developer until Act 250 came along and put an end to that. Later we were able to piece together a sizable parcel for our summer place.

“When we spent our first summer here in Vermont, we did not know about the Music Festival nor South Pond but we did participate in Marlboro College’s outside examiner program for graduating seniors. Since then the college has played a part in our lives and we have become supporters ever since.

“In thinking about what I would like to say to you, the graduating class, I have been trying to enumerate what is important to me. The following is a list of things that I have found to be important for me to celebrate:”

  • Be aware of nature, color, and the weather and all the things Vermont has to offer
  • Travel, and learn a foreign language
  • Read and learn poetry—in the case of my mom she would specifically encourage you to read Emily Dickenson, for whom she has a big affinity
  • Work at friendships—and also, in Emily’s case, intergenerational friendships
  • Listen to music and listen to the wind
  • Adjust to the seasons
  • Watch what you eat
  • Get enough sleep
  • Make sure there is plenty of humor in your life
  • Stay away from the “shoulds,” drugs, smoking, alcohol, and too much television
  • Stay informed
  • Try to stay away from always being connected on your cell phone and include daydreaming in your every day
  • Use your non dominant hand—For those of you who have ever had a conversation with my mom about art, she wants to you read Getting to the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, and use your left hand if you’re right handed and your right hand if you’re left-handed, and draw what you see in the empty spaces. And I think if you look at my mom’s work, it’s very clear that she is all about what happens in the empty space of our lives, including in meditation.
  • Vote, and participate in your community. And she sure wants to make sure you vote for a Democrat.
  • Care about others

My mom—hopefully some of you have had the pleasure of meeting her, or are familiar with her work—she’s an extraordinary person. She’s extremely honored to get this. This is not something that she really goes out and seeks, but when it happens she loves it. She is very humble.