Graduation day

June 10, 2011 • 11:59 am

At the University of Chicago, Ph.D.s get their degrees a day before undergraduates, and each division has its own graduation ceremony (ours is the Division of Biological Sciences, which includes the medical students).  Since my student Daniel graduated today, I went to the ceremony to “hood” him.  I’m not sure how cosmopolitan this ceremony is, but in the U.S. one’s advisor puts the “hood,” a cloth mantle, over the student’s cap and gown. It’s at that moment that the student magically attains the doctorate. (Daniel’s hood is in blue below.)

It was a touching event; how can one not feel good at the sight of so many young people officially completing the tortuous road to an M.D. or Ph.D.?  And how can one not ponder the wingéd chariot of time as a bunch of old scholars literally transfer their mantle to the next generation?

But enough of this musing.  Here I am with the newly-coined Dr. Matute, resplendent in our academic regalia.  My own, kindly loaned by Dr. Neil Shubin, is the Harvard “crimson” robe (everyone told me it looked PINK), while Daniel is in Chicago maroon.

Kudos to Daniel, and may I take paternal pride in adding that he won the award for the best doctoral thesis in the entire Division of Biological Sciences (he’s holding his certificate).

UPDATE:  My friend Carolyn Johnson sent me some photos she took of the hooding.  Here’s the very moment that Daniel became Dr. Daniel:

And, a happy Ph.D. with his certificate and cash award:

37 thoughts on “Graduation day

  1. Oh, that’s interesting. To these ceremonies, the advisor wears the graduation robes of his or her own alma mater, not those of the University where he or she works?

    1. Yes, you’re supposed to wear the regalia of your alma mater, and some of the European robes are wild (one of my Spanish colleagues has an ERMINE hood). If you’re too cheap to have bought one when you got your Ph.D. (which I was), the U of C will lend faculty a U of C robe for free. But fortunately Shubin, whose office is in the next building, offered to loan me his spiffy Harvard robe.

      1. The University of London ‘Arts’ faculty gown – a disgusting poo brown! At least the crimson matches your red drosophila eyes. I mean the eyes of your flies, not JC’s eyes!

  2. You guys look cool and happy!

    I wish you long and healthy life so you and your students can keep on the great service to science and humanity at large!


  3. I sometimes wish that I had obtained my Doctorate back when I had the energy to jump through all the hoops that are required. Alas, I don’t think it’s going to happen, although a friend of mine got his PhD in History at the age of 85, so who knows. Or I could get one from the Patriot Bible University, like our friend Kent…no effort there. Their robes are probably brown though…

    Congratulations to Daniel (er, Doctor Matute) for doing all the hard work it takes to get a real degree.

    1. In my undergraduate physics class of 1980 there were 120 students. Of whom just three were female. Two normal 18-year old girls.

      And one lady in her mid 60’s going back to school after retiring.

      It’s never too late.

  4. I don’t think there’s any simple way to get rid of the timestamp: it is now part of the image itself. Maybe a reader who is good at photoshop will volunteer to paint over it. It looks like it can be removed by a careful hand without much disruption to the overall picture.

      1. I tried to find user guide for your camera but could not: panasonic does not have it on their site

        But on the FAQ they advise to look for “time Stamp” feature of your camera – if you have paper copy of the user guide look it up in the index

      2. Photoshop is totally slick with this and can even “heal” the same thing on multiple images (as long as the date is the same).

        Malheureusement, I do not know that camera!

        I’m looking up the IFU on the web right now though … (I’m a lens-head.)

        And: Hearty congratulations to Dr. Matute!!!

        1. .. and if that doesn’t work, maybe we can all pray for it to go away. I heard that works for almost everything!

  5. What about taking the picture a little larger than you want and just cropping it off so that it doesn’t include the date?

    Probably more of an interim solution.

  6. Congratulations, Dr. Matute, and for the award, too! Impressive!

    My own, kindly loaned by Dr. Neil Shubin, is the Harvard “crimson” robe (everyone told me it looked PINK)

    It sure does. Did he leave it out in the sun for, like, a couple of weeks?

    1. It’s funny how it looks crimson in the bottom photo, but Barbie Doll Pink (™) in the outdoors light.

      Congratulations to Dr Matute!

      1. The word you’re looking for is, “metamerism.”

        There’s also some overall color balance differences between the photos, but not enough to explain the shift in Jerry’s robes.

        I’d be interesting to measure the fabric with a spectrophotometer….



      2. I’ve been reading some of the dispatches from the conference in Dublin. Of the conferences I read about, that’s one I’m sorry to have missed (well, that, and the upcoming TAM in Las Vegas.) Had no idea you were such an integral part. Well done, Miss!

  7. Perhaps the “crimson robe” has evolved, much like that moth in England that changed to near-black because the trees were covered in industrial soot??

    Now it appears to be pink, though it is unclear how that adaption will benefit you.

    Evolutionary dead end??

    1. Just thunk of why this “pink outfit” is a superior evolutionary adaption:

      In a crowded, disease-infested world, fewer random strangers will get close enough to transfer decimating viruses.

  8. The cowboyboots certainly look a lot less silly now.

    Even our royalty rarely dresses up like that anymore.

  9. Indeed, congratulations on all accounts, Daniel!

    Meanwhile, the pink issue can probably be fixed with the red balance in Photoshop or equivalent.

  10. Chicago Maroon is much more appealing than Harvard Crimson. Are you sure Shubin was not just trying to get you to wear something hideous?

    Actually, only BSD and SSA did their hooding today. Everyone else is doing it tomorrow after the Convocation. And BSD is not actually handing out its diplomas until tomorrow.

  11. Ah, Americans. Trying so hard to have robes and hats and traditions and stuff, and yet they hold the celebrations in a tent 🙂

Leave a Reply