Dustin Coates, Author at General Assembly Blog

Summer 2013 Web Development Immersive Graduation & Reunion


Last Tuesday night, we held our first joint graduation and alumni reunion for our Web Development Immersive (WDI) students. We admit that it’s a bit unusual — homecoming and graduation events are typically separated by several months and various weather conditions. But we think about education a little bit differently.

From “TA Phil” Lamplugh reflecting that “[being] able to say ‘this doesn’t work because you spelled restaurant wrong’ has been a daily highlight” and WDI Product Manager Mercedes Bent recounting stories from the graduating classes to GA co-founder Matt Brimer imploring students to “always keep [their] education in beta,” the theme of the night was really all about lifelong learning.

In his speech to graduates and alumni, Brimer noted that “Alumni has the connotation that you’re no longer involved. We never want you to leave the GA community.” It’s that mindset that drove the evening, as the ceremony was less about sending graduates off into the world or giving alumni the opportunity to reconnect with each other, and more about alumni welcoming students into the next stage of their education and into the network of WDI alumni.

The strength of that alumni network — less than one year from the first instance of WDI — was readily apparent through the night. Our alumni appreciated the opportunity to welcome new students in, but they didn’t need us to bring them together to stay in contact. It was clear that they had already done that on their own.

In his congratulatory remarks, Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis advised graduates to “brute force their way into the future” while mentioning that there’s never enough good developers in the world. Perhaps no point better illustrates the benefits of the WDI program. Not only are graduates embarking into an in-demand career, they’re doing so together — creating a powerful community of collaborative developers, learning enthusiasts, and most importantly, friends.

If you’re interested in joining this network of alumni, learn more about WDI.