To Evan on Your Graduation

Dear Evan,

I cannot believe it's been 5 years already!! Graduation day is here, and it's because of God's grace, your hard work, sleepless nights and amazing determination, that you are walking the stage tonight. I do not know the words to say to express how proud of you I am, but you did it, sir. Holy smokes, you did it!

You made it through freshman year, through your first knee surgery. It wasn't the beginning of the football or college career you had imagined, but you spent your mornings with the doctors and doing the lifts you could, You went to class, practice and study hall (usual staying there after the academic center closed). Freshman year brought a few of many obstacles you would have to face, testing us, you, your belief in yourself and also in God. Thanks for finding time to meet me for midday or late night meals and Sunday brunch.

By our junior year, your knee was better, you gained your strength back, and earned a starting position on special teams. Your hard work was paying off. The text I got during the camp before our junior year made my heart sink. Another, knee surgery forced you to chose between football or walking in the future. It was the end of your playing, but it wouldn't stop you from being a part of the team. You made it through junior

year, when you found ways to keep serving not only the team, but also others, by assistant coaching, tutoring college students, and teaching summer classes to high school students. I know you still wish you could have played the season following your junior year, and I'm so sorry that you never got the chance.

However, your ability to find opportunity to positively influence others during this time always inspired me, and I hope you know how proud of you I am for the selflessness you exemplified. You gave up one of your lifelong dreams so that you could one day, be there to play with your kids. You stopped playing football, but you committed your time to coaching and tutoring your teammates instead. Your nights were still spent working in your office, but you now also spent more time at meetings like Project Haiti and Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Your final two years seemed like they consisted of schedule mix ups, stupid-hard classes, paper contests, and research. You spent four months running simulations, writing literature reviews, and meeting with your master's advisor. You stayed overnight in computer labs, waking up every 15 minutes to keep you from losing your thousands of simulations that were running. A month and a half before your defense, you were told that none of your work could be used. Four months of work and more would have to be done in a month and a half. No matter how hard things got, or how alone you felt, you insisted on me staying in Oregon. When people told you to switch advisors, graduate in the summer, or that you wouldn't be able to do this, you worked harder.

This weekend, you proved so many people wrong, successfully earning your undergraduate and graduate degrees in 5 years. On Friday, you received your bachelor's degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, and tonight, you are receiving your master's degree in Energy and Mineral Engineering, and I'll probably cry, so don't seem surprised when that happens.

While I am proud of you for your earned degrees, I am even more proud of the person you have become during these 5 years. You are someone I love and am so proud of, because you are the type of person who...

sends me three dozen roses for me to give out to the women residents of the nursing home where I was interning.

wakes up at 6am to volunteer with me or donate blood (even though you have a fear of needles).

brings a group of graduate students together for bowling, painting, rock climbing or to a potluck, so that they can get away from their work/offices for a night.

works harder when people tell you that can't.

You are the type of person who inspires, encourages and supports me everyday.

Thank you for being in my film projects, skipping class when I was sick at home or the hospital, and coming to all of my club events/fundraisers. Thanks for encouraging me to be brave, put myself out there, and begin my own company during my senior year. Thank you for making and hanging fliers around campus, letting me teach you photography, and coming to every senior photo session, all during the final weeks of your mater's program. That being said, in the midst of this congratulatory blog, I'd also like to finally introduce to you as our newest member of the SMF family!

You do so much to support me and my dreams, and I promise to do the same for you. You are my reason to work harder, keep my faith stronger, and search for something good everyday. I can't wait to continue working alongside you, and see you do amazing work at Range Resources in July.

I'm so proud of you! Congratulations again, Ev!

Update, I did indeed cry at graduation...all happy tears though!

Love,

Samantha

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