A week ago, Trafalgar Square in London was the site of the world premiere for the last Harry Potter movie.
For the thousands that were there and for those watching around the world, it was the culmination of the final movie experience.
For over 10 years, the Harry Potter phenomenon has helped to shape and guide a generation of both young and old.
This incoming Class of 2015 has grown up with the vivid characters that were created by J.K. Rowling.
As I reflect about the Harry Potter legacy, I think about the value of our institution and the experiences that we face as part of the Virginia Tech community.
We have our Hogwarts, which could be symbolic of Tech as a whole.
While we don’t have houses such as Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, we do have academic colleges as these become the focal point of the academic experience.We have our own Quidditch in the form of our respective collegiate sports and intramurals.
We get dressed up in our school colors and cheer for our teams.
We have mentors, advisors and professors like Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Lupin. We also have some figures like Professor Umbridge or even Professor Trelawney.
We have a Dumbledore figure in terms of the Dr. Steger as university president and the Ministry of Magic could be seen with the Board of Visitors and the State Council for Higher Education (SCHEV).
We get to know and build relationships with the staff on the campus, similar to the relationship that the students have with Hagrid.
You have the enforcers like Filtch or those that serve as Head Boys such as Percy.
While we don’t have one grand dining facility, we are fortunate to have a number of different food options on campus like D2, West End, and the Squires Food Court.
We have an outside village like Hogsmeade with the Town of Blacksburg.
While we can’t get butterbeer, those students of age can get other similar types of beverages.
While we won’t be fighting Death Eaters or Voldemort, we will be fighting against the daily challenges that we may encounter whether it is with our academics or with outside issues.
While we may not have a Harry, Hermione or Ron, we do have our close friends that we will share both the joys and sadness of the experience. We have a supporting cast that includes the Nevilles, Lunas and Dracos.
The Harry Potter experience is a vivid example of the transformational experience that can take place in an institution of higher education.
For those new students that are joining the Tech community, they will face their own Sorting Hat experience as they begin to learn the ropes and get more involved in their community.
They may decide to pursue membership in a fraternity or sorority, be a part of one of many student organizations or clubs or choose another path.
We also have alumni that treasure their experiences and will subsequently encourage their sons or daughters to attend Tech.
This legacy is a strong one in many families. We can learn a lot about college by reading the Harry Potter books.
While the books focus on magic, we see that magic takes place in the learning and discovery at Tech.
From the university library to the science labs, from the classrooms to the Math Emporium, there is an excitement that takes place.
We may not see it as exciting at the time, nor consider it “magical” but it does make a difference. I also realize that there are those that view the books as demonic and evil.
These individuals are entitled to their view as we embrace the differences among us. We acknowledge and respect that viewpoint while we may disagree with that perspective. In the end, the Harry Potter phenomenon has touched us in different ways.
For some it will be as powerful as the Star Wars Trilogy back in its day, while for others it will come to represent the end of a childhood experience. We may not be Harry Potter fans, but like Hogwarts, we are a part of a special and magical place called Virginia Tech.