Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Graduation ‘Time’

Michael Burdick, Graduate, Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

My oldest son Michael, 28 years young, graduated today with his Masters in Public Policy from the Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.

Charles Huntington Burdick's Railroad Pocket Watch given to him January 1924 upon his retirement.

I told the story about this watch back in 2012 when we visited Ardenwood Historic Farm in Freemont California.  It is a railroad watch given to my Great Grandfather, Charles Huntington Burdick, when he retired from the Railroad, January 1924.  ‘Time’ was important to a Railroad Conductor back in that era…that is how they knew the tracks would be clear from other trains…they had to run on time or risk wrecking with another train.

Charles Huntington Burdick's Railroad Pocket Watch given to him January 1924 upon his retirement.

When I received my graduate degree back in, well, some time ago, I was 35 years old, the first and only in my family to get a Masters degree…although my oldest brother worked on getting a Masters and decided that the degree was not needed to do the great things he has done in the computer security world.  When I graduated, mom and dad gave this pocket watch to me.  Today, I pass it on to my first child to earn their Masters...well, kind of…I actually forgot to get it out of the safe deposit box in Florida, so although the watch is his, I am just the temporary caretaker of it for awhile.

L-R:  Stephanie, Michael, Anna

Another big thing happened today….I finally met Anna.  My only regret…we did not have enough time to really get to know her.  I will take what I can get…for now…I sure hope we have more time when we get back from Alaska.

Graduation Day, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

The graduation was held at the International House for the nearly 80 students who made it through the two year program.

Graduation Day, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

The hall was packed, standing room only, and we were at the very back.  There were aunts, uncles, cousins, mother, father, sister and Anna…eleven of us in all.  We were lucky to all sit together.  My parents and Marcia decided it would be a bit much with their special physical needs, and it was probably the right choice because it would have been very hard to deal with those needs in such tight quarters.  I am sorry they had to miss it…but these older colleges and their historic buildings are not real good about meeting these special needs.

Robert Reich

The most famous ‘person on campus’, as it pertains to the Goldman School of Public Policy, is this man in the middle…Robert Reich, who served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.  He did not give the commencement address, however, that was given by the gentleman to the right.  Fred Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer, The San Francisco Foundation is his name.  (I am not good with names, and it took some research to figure that one out since I left my copy of the graduation ceremony at mom and dad's house after I got home.)  As graduation ceremonies go, this was a two hour program which went well.

Shelley with Michael

Shelley is one proud mother, that’s for sure!  She has been a first grade teacher back in Arkansas for 16 years or so.

Michael's Aunts, Uncles, Cousins with mother and sister

This is just a small portion of her family who came to support Michael…had they all been there they would be standing four or five deep, that’s for sure.

L-R: Shelley, Stephanie, Michael, Dave

And here’s Michael’s family, less his younger brother Ryan who is in college in the Kansas City area.

Stephanie and Michael

We are all proud of you son, don’t know who is more proud…your mother, your brother, myself, or your little sister…aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…Anna...I think it is a tie, lots and lots of pride amongst us all.  And since you already have a job with the City of San Francisco, I don’t need to tell you ‘to go out and get a job!’


  1. Congratulations to your son Michael - I know you're very proud of him. It's great that in this day and time he has a job already secured...

    1. Michael has always been able to get a job early on. After he graduated from the University of Arkansas, he applied to Wells Fargo in San Francisco, only Wells Fargo, and he got the job. After a few years decided banking was not his thing and decided to pursue this Masters program.

  2. You must be very proud of Michael. Great story about the watch, now if you had just remembered to bring it. ;-D

    1. When he was in first grade I took the watch to his class and read a book about a "horse-drawn train". Remember, I was a Librarian, and found a book that had illustrations, but the story was one I told of my Great Grandfather and his brother...and at the end of the story when I pulled out that watch the kids were all shocked! Then when I told them the story was about Michael's Great-great Grandfather...the "oooohhhhhs" really came out. I told Michael yesterday that it was now his responsibility to do the same (problem is, he has no kids, and the look he gave me was like, "Dad, I don't know if I will ever had kids...")


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