In my 32 years in the collegiate classroom, attending graduation ceremonies has never been high on my list of things to do. I missed all three of mine. They were scheduled on Saturday, and I observe the Saturday Sabbath, when working is a “Thou shalt not.” In my years at Iowa, Virginia Tech, North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Bowling Green State, I didn’t attend because of the work-Sabbath conflict. Then I moved to Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and found that I had not the proper clothes to wear to its Sunday graduation ceremony.
It’s called academic regalia, and professors go all out. Style has an important part to play, so does trying to one-up the other professors down the hall. This year I borrowed a set of plain regalia and I surely felt out of place. Professors were wearing gowns of every conceivable color. Hoods can be colorful, too. Tams are in, mortar board caps are out. Gold tassles are absolutely de rigueur. This stock photo of doctoral gowns does not capture the bright, colorful diversity out there.
This year I’m so glad I attended on May 1. My first group of Concordia students graduated, and I am proud of every one. Concordia seems to excel at putting on a graduation ceremony. The floor of the athletic arena was sectioned into thirds. Professors filed in, led by old-timers with much experience. They took the front of the middle section. Then the students filed in, lines left and right filling the sides symmetrically. Proud parents and friends filled the seats on either side. Here’s what it looked like.
After a speech by one of Minnesota’s senators, the task of reading off several hundred names commenced. Here’s a photo of the college president handing out diploma cases.
Two days earlier, while I was proctoring my last final exam on Friday at noon, my younger son Chris was marching in his own graduation ceremony at the University of Michigan. He received two masters degrees in music. He is pictured afterward beside his proud mother. A trumpeter, his graduate brass quintet played at graduation.
Fast forward two weeks to today. My older son Tom is graduating from Syracuse University with an MBA degree, specializing in finance and healthcare. He says he should have majored in accounting. I knew that all along, of course. His graduation ceremony was scheduled for a Saturday. The graduate dean of the Whitman School of Management, is pictured here handing Tom his diploma case on Friday in a ceremony for one.
Three graduations and they all were special.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht