Drew is now an Illini graduate!
On May 11, 2019, we had the honor of watching Drew graduate from the University of Illinois, College of Engineering in Computer Science.
Our day began in my brother’s borrowed mini van. Steve, Jenna and I picked up my in-laws and my mother and we began the journey to Urbana-Champaign. A usual 2 and a half hour ride, with no stops, became a 3 and a half hour ride with 1 stop, due to heavy rain and multiple traffic issues. We arrived in time to pick up Drew for a late lunch at our favorite breakfast restaurant, The Original Pancake House. It’s our go-to spot for really good omelettes, gluten free blueberry pancakes, and the best bacon.
After lunch, we made a short pit-stop at Drew’s apartment and then we, along with thousands of other people, gathered in the State Farm stadium for the college of engineering graduation. It was a tightly organized event that moved along quickly, naming off the thousand or so diverse graduates from all over the world.
Afterwards, we took a few pictures before picking up dinner and heading back. We arrived home around midnight.
At the end of May, Drew will head to Israel for ten days with Birthright, a Jewish organization that believes every Jewish young adult deserves a free trip to Israel. Then, he’ll be off to Europe by himself for another two weeks or so.
Upon his return back to the states, he will have a month off until the end of July when he will begin his adult life working in Chicago as a software engineer at iManage all while living back at home with us until he is financially ready to move to the city of Chicago.
What can I say about Drew that I haven’t already said in previous blog posts (here, here, and here)?
Well, as his mother and am naturally very biased. I have a lot I could say, but I will keep it brief.
Here are some highlights of Drew’s journey:
- Drew came into the world on July 13, 1997, happy and smiling. As he got older, we even had his sister, Jenna, try to make him angry to teach him to express anger. He just laughed.
- Drew was always building and creating using anything he could find – tape, kleenex boxes, large packing boxes, legos, knex, trains. More than once the entire living room became a train room, entertaining himself for hours.
- At the age of 11, Drew won a lego contest from the Legoland Discovery center. An exciting PR ploy that had him and 4 other kids on TV numerous times to promote the new Legoland in Schaumburg.
- Drew went to camp for 5 summers where he embraced the love of water skiing.
- At age 12, Drew declared, “I’m really lucky, I know exactly what I’m supposed to do with my life”. At the time he referred to creating and building things – which we now know turned into creating and building computer code.
- In high school, he discovered swimming, cross country, track, triathlon and computers.
- He chose U of IL, despite not getting into the computer science program, knowing he would have to work hard to meet unbelievably difficult criteria to get into the program. By second semester of his sophomore year, Drew met the criteria and got into the College of Engineering computer science program.
- Drew fell in love with Victoria this past year, a fellow runner.
- Over the past few years Drew and I have developed a special bond of common interests – The Chicago Botanic Garden, theater, our community library, shopping, The Moth Hour, cooking and travel.
- Drew and his dad enjoy tech talk of all kinds, biking, superhero movies, and Dr. Who
My husband and I have watched Drew grow up to be a kind, generous, sweet, and respectful man with his family, friends, girlfriend and anyone else who crosses his path and we know that we can take some credit for the person Drew has become, but he made it easy for us. We are so proud of him.
Alice Nixon says
Hard to believe Drew is all growed up!!!
Congratulations Drew for all your many accomplishments . You have an exciting future ahead of you. We need men of your caliber in this wacky world to bring all that kindness and wisdom along with your well honed skill set.
Wishing you all good things !!
Congratulations to all of you! Great job! Enjoy having Drew around for awhile.
Rosalie Epstein says
Cngratulations Denise and Steve on helping Drew become the fine, loving and accomplished young adult that he has become. You should be very very proud.
Beri and John Nass says
Congratulations to Drew. Congratulations to you and Steven for raising such a beautiful. Every Time I have seen him, he radiates happiness. I am proud to be his aunt. May all endeavors be successful and his life be forever happy. Tell him I hope to see him when he gets home.Tell him to have a great time on his coming travels.
Mazel Tov. What a wonderful journey you all have been on. Here’s to a lifetime of joy, learning and adventure!
Michelle Klein says
I really enjoyed reading all The Wonderful events that took place in Drew’s life this far.
He is one of The most interesting & intelligent young people I have met!
Much Love to all!! Michelle
Thank you for sharing Drew’s story and your journey to Urbana and back. So enjoyed meeting him the other day. Feel like I know him a little bit from way back when I would see you almost every week in your office.
You have a beautiful family. Hats off to you and your husband.
What a great story! Congratulations, Drew!
Such a lovely piece about such a special young man. You did good! Reared a gifted, creative and driven young man who is now poised to take on the world – literally!
Carol Wikoff says
Congratulations Denise! What an accomplished kid. May he continue us to bring you joy… without the minivan!!!
Maxine Solomon says
Congratulations to all of you!!!!
Betty and Chris Bagat says
Congratulations Drew! Enjoy your travels!
Denise Gruensfelder says
Congratulations to all of you! Especially Drew for all of his accomplishments! Best wishes to Drew on his upcoming adventures!