Friday, June 10, 2005

Graduation Day

The University of Chicago has four graduation convocations in the spring quarter spread throughout today and tomorrow. The first session (mostly law students) has just marched past my office window. I will march in the second session this afternoon which includes the liberal arts graduate students.

My Ph.D. student Rahul Santhanam (co-advised with Janos Simon) will receive his diploma this afternoon. He did his thesis work on time hierarchies and next year will be a postdoc working with Valentine Kabanets at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Rahul is officially my fifth student to receive the Ph.D. following Carsten Lund, Lide Li, Sophie Laplante and Dieter van Melkebeek, all of whom graduated in my pre-weblog days.

Also from our theory group, Daniel Stefankovic graduates today. He did his thesis on "Curves on Surfaces, String Graphs, and Crossing Numbers" and will be an assistant professor at the University of Rochester in the fall.

Call me a romantic but I really enjoy the pageantry of the graduation ceremony. I enjoy putting on the gown and the hood (even with those drab MIT colors) and marching past the parents as a member of the faculty and see the students come one by one, especially my own students, and receive their degrees. Chicago has a wonderful ceremony led by bagpipes in the front of the procession and the nice tradition of rarely having outside speakers (a major exception was Bill Clinton during his presidency). The ceremony was even more impressive when it was held in the Rockefeller Chapel but even with four ceremonies the chapel is not large enough to hold all the family members who want to attend.

1 comment:

  1. I find graduation ceremonies unbearably boring. Often, they continue to honour baffling traditions, such as the marching in of some old scepter or mace made out of brass or whatever. Of course, let's not forget the mandatory $50 "gown rental" fee for graduates -- if that's not a blatant money grab then I don't know what is.