Come college commencement season, you see a lot of status games: Who’s speaking? Who’s streaming it on the Web? Who’s live-tweeting it? But frankly, Drake University has us all beat, and it has nothing to do with VIP speakers or use of fancy technology.
Drake’s graduation day started with a nightmare scenario as Glenn Koenen, whose daughter Cassaundra was set to receive her sheepskin, suffered a heart attack while waiting for the ceremony. According to the Des Moines Register, an ER nurse attending to see her niece graduate, a doctor and two Drake staffers sprang into action and restarted Glenn’s heart with a defibrillator. And while that kind of life-saving heroism is commendable, what happened next is perhaps even more remarkable.
As Cassaundra sat beside his hospital bed, Glenn rued that he’d ruined her graduation day. A nurse contacted the college to see what they could do. What they did exceeded anyone’s expectations: Drake’s college president and other administrators came straight to the hospital room to present Cassaundra with her diploma in front of her dad.
Think about that: A college that cares enough that its president goes to the hospital on graduation day to present a diploma! If you are a student considering Drake, have a child attending the college or are an alum, you’ve got to feel really good about what this says about the institution.
As we all look at and discuss what social-media tools and other gadgets we use to promote our institutions, we can never forget the most important lesson: People matter. What any college does for one of its students in his or her hour of need is its greatest test. By that measure, Drake University scores an A+ and provides a lesson for us all.