Take a moment to reflect on the behind-the-scenes efforts

Published 6:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

By Steve Stricker

Today at 11:00 a.m., No.16 Ole Miss goes against “Basketball” School, number 8 Kentucky Wildcat football team for our Homecoming game in the Vaught – both teams are 4-0!  GO REBELS!

So, Ole Miss Homecoming – welcome home y’all Rebels!  Consider all the planning that was involved leading up to today, the game, you getting here, the university, Oxford, then can you wrap your head around all the planning, preparation, organization of my hero Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last week – enough energy was expended to light London for a month – and I pictured a squeaky-clean London! 

Monday, September 19, no daily Mass all week, so I watched NBC’s breathtaking coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.– six non-stop hours and was totally mesmerized as everything, no everything, from each venue, Westminster Abbey to her final resting place in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and all else from her death at Balmoral Castle, Scotland was flawless, glistening, not one glitch, from her precision awesome pallbearers, to not one person out of step in that rhythmic military drum cadence of hundreds marching down the Royal Mall (I marched to it around my house), to lowering of her coffin (gulp) as cameras focused on now King Charles III, emotions forthright as it seemed to sink in that he now was responsible for his mum’s spotless reign of the previous 70 plus years….

Where does one even begin to wrap one’s brain about the unbelievable Royal spectacular, spotless pageantry that the British managed so well?! Perhaps strangely, for me, it begins with our fantastic Ole Miss custodial and maintenance staff who for my fifteen years working on Campus were always my heroes! Without the buildings being clean, stuff working as it should, the charge of instructing our awesome students would never happen!  Then – especially during the pandemic, there was so much planning and moving parts to keep our students and everyone safe and the university open…well done all Ole Miss students, staff, faculty, and administration!  

To me, the process of getting a degree is as important as the degree itself because of all the behind scenes academic work and discipline required, amongst social demands, especially difficult through all the COVID stuff and y’all did it!  After this, with your University of Mississippi degree, you are prepared for anything that life throws you. 

And it’s the details in the background that only a few see, like when I say my daily Rosary…there in the first Joyful Mystery, Joseph is selected to be Mary’s husband by God, married but before living together – annunciation message by St. Gabriel, accepted by Mary – all the background happenings – what did the wedding look like, where did they live, what did they eat, did they have a pet, what did Joseph’s carpenter shop look like, where did he get his supplies, what did he make? And, I picture a young Jesus being taught by Joseph and Mary, Mary helping as well with shop projects.  

In my over 21 years of university experience, 15 at Ole Miss, I was challenged repeatedly to coordinate stuff such as the last year of my Ph.D. Counseling program, doctoral comps, dissertation, and President of the Ole Miss Graduate Council, one that was literally dead in the water, like it didn’t exist – and just took off with it, grabbing students I’d meet on the sidewalk to represent their school, put Council online, got funded by the administration, and two years later was so proud to have it selected as, “The Best Graduate Council in the Nation!” 

But perhaps the most difficult coordination was going from Assistant Director of the Ole Miss Career Center and Teacher in the Martindale Center to being selected as Director of MBA Planning and Career Placement and Teacher in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration – a from scratch new high-profile position that I had to develop, lots of faculty suggestions, but had to eventually do my way and thankfully it worked.  Also taught a class of 120 senor business majors…fun, loved, busy, miss Ole Miss and our awesome students! 

However – none of that can hold a candle to the magnitude of pulling off Queen Mum’s funeral that even mum helped with before her death like approving that spectacular Jaguar/Land Rover Hearse – wonderful and well done, y’all Brits – miss you mum! 

Y’all are back home today because of your swell organization, planning, perseverance and got your Ole Miss degree – well done! GO REBELS, BEAT KENTUCKY!  And just go y’all – have a swell Homecoming weekend!

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.