The President of Mexico was our commencement speaker on Wednesday. He graduated from our school ten years ago and that made it very special.
When a head-of-state travels, the planning is complicated. The schedule is often subject to change and the security measures are extraordinary. This visit required a planning meeting with a contingent of about fifteen Mexican security and press people two weeks in advance, and then another five days in advance. The Mexicans were delayed coming to the second meeting, and that kept me at work until 10:00 last Friday night.
I was a part of a great team taking care of the arrangements. My role was to manage the ticket distribution and to work with the graduating Mexican students who, of course, wanted to meet with their president. As plans or times changed, they had to be kept informed.
Back in 1998, I went on a recruiting trip to Mexico City to interview candidates for admission to our school. At that time, the now-President was chief of his party, but his party was not in power, and I visited him in his modest office. Whether I deserve it or not, I take a lot of credit for getting him to apply and ultimately to come to our school. I guess I could say that we became “friends.”
After his speech, he was unable to stay for a reception, but he did shake hands with the thirty-or-so of us in the front row before being rushed off. The front row included Mexican students, dignitaries and school officials.
I was the only one the President of Mexico kissed.