Sunday, May 18, 2008

Commencement Day

It's time for our annual spring ritual -- sending our students out into the great big world. It's Commencement Day.

I'm prepared with my regalia as usual, although as usual slightly disappointed that Yale's regalia regulations require its graduates to wear a mortarboard. I always wanted one of those cool tams.

When I got my regalia, I thought about cutting loose and getting a tam anyway, cheeky rebel that I am. But just about that time, the head of the Navy, Admiral Michael Boorda, committed suicide after a reporter questioned whether he had worn a medal to which he was not entitled. I decided to stick with the mortarboard.

Also (to the considerable mirth of my Ph.D.'d girlfriend), we lowly J.D.s wear a master's hood (only 3.5 feet long) instead of a doctoral hood (4 feet long with side panels). And we don't get to wear a gold tassel. But that's OK -- I like my purple tassel.

Of course the other burning question is whether it is permissible to bring a book or other reading material on stage and read it surreptitiously while 500 students are getting their diplomas one by one. I'm in the "no" camp, but I can't deny that my mind wanders by the time the Gs and Hs are crossing the stage.

Congratulations to graduates and best wishes for the future.

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