Thursday, February 21, 2008

a friday afternoon in delaware

I'm a little overwhelmed about tomorrow's dissertation defense. But I keep telling myself that I am really bringing a lot of people with me into that room. People whose lives have influenced me and people who feature prominently in the research.

Some students undertake incredibly challenging statistical analysis for their graduate research, others model sophisticated economic theories...I'm telling a story about neighborhoods where the Catholic Church has made a historic investment in the fabric of the urban landscape. There are priests, sisters, laypersons, children, youth. There are buildings, elevated trains, and community gardens. This cast and backdrop represents different facets of one organization that is seeking to transform marginalized communities through affordable housing, dignified employment, streetscape improvements, and economic development.

My study is one chapter in a larger story. Tomorrow I share that one piece. Perhaps more important than the success of the defense itself, however, is the fact that when I walk out of that room, I am turning the last page of what I wrote, literally and figuratively. I am putting it to rest and moving on to something else. A job. A new home. A new city. A new life almost. Hard to believe that five years comes to an end on a Friday afternoon in Delaware. Thankfully, I'm not losing an ounce of the spirit and dedication of those who were with me during those five years. I have the 300 pages to remind me, tremendous memories, and a folder full of pictures!

Thank you all for being with me along the way and no whining about these photos, they make me smile!

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