May 27th, 2011
Convocation can be embarrassing. I see the possibility at every session. This week we are celebrating the success of hundreds and hundreds of students in eight graduation ceremonies. Sitting on stage I get a really good close up of each and every one who crosses the boards to be hooded by the appropriate dean and then congratulated by the Chancellor. When I am doing the hooding of graduate students I am especially conscious of how exposed these students feel. Cameras are flashing, over a thousand people are in the audience watching, the video cameras are rolling for future broadcast, and all one can hear is the clickety click of heels across the floor of the stage. Their families in the audience hold their breaths as their progeny walk into the spotlight for a brief, important moment. Some of the hands I shake in that moment are as wet as sponges. The hoods they pass over to me are downright soggy in the places where they have been gripped so tightly for at least a half hour before show time.