After the Bubble bursts -nc-mts -cd

Tom and Karen McGarvie Watson

We graduated from Lawrence in 1980. Armed with bachelor’s degrees from a prestigious liberal arts school, we set off as two government majors out to find our destiny.
We were probably too young and na****:i****ve to allow questions like “What will you do with your major?” or “What will you do with a liberal arts degree?” or the even more disconcerting “Now that you’ve graduated, what will you do with your life?” to prompt any Wagnerian angst. We were also probably armed with more bravado than brains, but that did not discourage us.
We each needed to find a job relatively quickly, and before we knew it, we were married and living in Chicago. I was working in advertising at Leo Burnett, and Karen was working as a buyer at Marshall Field & Co.
While we were not using the knowledge we gained from our government degrees to go to law school, work in the Foreign Service or enter the political arena in the City of Chicago, we imagine that we made some pretty astute comments about foreign affairs near the water coolers and at cocktail parties.
Almost 30 years later, and after a 14-year stint working as marketing director at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., I am enjoying working at an advertising agency again. I’m a senior vice-president and account director at Hoffman York in Milwaukee.
After spending over 20 years at home playing with our children, Erin and Mac, Karen is finishing up a master’s degree in education and spending a fair amount of time volunteering in urban schools in Milwaukee.
My years at Harley-Davidson provided me with opportunities to travel to Southeast Asia, Australia, London and many European countries. I probably did not anticipate that I would have those opportunities when I was working at the Seeley G. Mudd Library reference desk, delivering campus mail in a crazy Cushman three-wheel vehicle, scrubbing the stove in the Delt house and giving campus tours to pay for my education. I thought I would be saddled with college loans for the rest of my life — and so did my debt-free wife.
While we were students at Lawrence, we studied subjects that interested us, learned from great professors and forged significant lifelong friendships. 30 years and thousands of students later, many of our Lawrence professors and administrators still know us by name.
They know what we are doing, they know our children by name and sometimes, unfortunately, they still remember how we performed in their classes. This is not because we were special students, but because Lawrence is a special community.
While students now have a long reading weekend instead of a Winter Carnival, hold BBQ parties on the Hiett Hall patio instead of ice skating and playing broomball on a rink in front Ormsby Hall, work out at the recreation center instead of taking a bus to Alexander Gymnasium, celebrate beach day in the Beta house basement instead of in the chapel yard and parking lot and live in dusty dorm rooms instead of waiting for the cleaning service to tidy up their rooms, they can still eat the world’s best grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches in the Union Grill — we trust it will be on the menu in the new student center — meet close friends in the Viking Room and learn how to think while studying with incredible professors.
So, there is really no need for your bubble to burst — you are hopefully meeting people and learning things that will remain a significant part of your life forever.

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