Friday, May 6, 2011

"I'm Gonna Go to Disney World!"

On Monday, April the 25th, something happened - something I'd assumed was as likely to happen as my being selected for the next shuttle mission to the moon, something I've been cynically anticipating since Ohio State rejected me from their doctoral program (the FIRST time!), something whose many paper-intensive drafts were probably single-handedly responsible for the slaughter of several small woodland preserves.

On Monday, April the 25th, my dissertation was complete.

I haven't written about it yet, because a part of me still expects my advisor to call and say, "PSYCHE!" or "You should add a chapter on Cy Coleman" or "You know, Kristin, on second thought, the committee and I would prefer that you approach Fields's work through a semiotic lens. Let's start from scratch, shall we?"

"Um, no," I'd respectfully respond. "We shan't."

I haven't got time for any revisions, because Stultzie's got some celebrations planned. The fun begins this weekend and continues through a post graduation visit to Sea Island, which will, I found out this morning, include a sail on the vintage vessel Cloister Belle. If you thought I was excited when they announced that revival of "Damn Yankees" ...

But I digress.

Before we can celebrate Graduation Day, though, we must first celebrate Mother's Day. This year, I am especially grateful for my mother - and my father, too, for that matter. Without them, there would have been no dissertation, because there would have been no doctoral program.

When I was accepted to UGA, it was without any sort of departmental funding. "I can't go," I remember telling Daddy, as I held my acceptance letter in my hand. "I just can't afford it." "You have to go," he responded. "Your mom and I will help."

As it turned out - "help" was probably a bit of a misnomer, because I'm not very sure I did all that much to carry my weight. They selflessly, generously picked up my slack, and next Friday's graduation is due in toto to the grace of God and the help of my parents.

Knowing this, I decided to dedicate my dissertation - did I mention it's finished?! - to the ones who made it happen - my cheerleaders, my patrons, my parents.


Mom, you let me watch Annie every single day. You suffered through my childhood obsessions with musicals from The Sound of Music to The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. You never complained – at least not that I knew of – when I’d tap dance on top of the coffee table or sang every lyric to every song Cole Porter ever wrote. In so doing, you birthed in me a passion that is, next to my faith, the greatest gift you ever gave me.

Daddy, you saw the shows and then took me to see them. You bankrolled our common addiction – providing airfare, hotel rooms, and show tickets for our many theatre-going trips to New York City (or, in the case of Karen Ziemba’s tour with Chicago, Nashville). You made a way for me to meet Bill McCutcheon. You celebrated my 21st birthday by taking me to the Tony Awards, and when I got the chance to go to grad school at UGA, you and Mom generously paid my way. As a result, the passion that Mom birthed, you nurtured [cue emotional explosion into song]:

'So I say thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing!
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing. Who can live without it?
I ask in all honesty, what would life be? Without a song or a dance,
What are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me.'
-- from Mamma Mia!

I dedicate this dissertation to the two of you, because I am so unspeakably grateful for your dedication to me. In other words, 'thank you for the music.'"

And now?



  1. Congratulations and Have FUN!!! Just leave some candy for us at Goofy's Candy store!

  2. Congratulations J.
    Your Mom and I are very proud of all you've accomplished and look forward to seeing how God uses you in the future.
    We love you.

  3. I am SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And you deserve every minute of your trip to Disney World. I honestly do not have ONE other friend who has a PHD?!?!?!

  4. Oh, and I want a copy of that picture of you throwing your hat up in the air. Seriously, please print me one, or send me the file and I'll print it. That is PRICELESS.

  5. Jealousy of your trip to Disney aside, I am thrilled for you and proud to know you JKS. Enjoy your visit to The Happiest Place on Earth but don't forget Mission: Mickey.

    So congratulations Dr. Stultz! You are living proof that with God, nothing is impossible.

  6. I am so proud of you!!! Congratulations on your persistent pursuit of what God has for you. CL

  7. so proud of you!!!! sorry i'm late to post on here :-/

    i thought about you a few weeks ago when kentucky came down to oxford to play a little baseball. i even took a few pictures of some of your good ole guys. and meant to email them to you. and then we got rid of our internet at home - that NEVER worked anyway. i figured i'd rather the $39ish/month go to our sponsored child in ecuador than to at&t with internet that never worked!


  8. Julieta Diaz Zuniga StultzMay 15, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    just to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!, from México BRAVO!!!!!! , I knew you we going to be a great but now you are!!!

  9. Perfect. Just perfect. Like your folks...congrats, doll...For once, your obsessions have granted you notoriety and I'm thrilled to be a part of your standing ovation!!!