Doctor Sycorax, I presume

Let's see, what have I gotten up to since last we spoke? Oh yes ... I became a doctor.

Not, admittedly, the useful sort of doctor who can prescribe medicines, take out your diseased appendix, or moderate your neuroses (although I feel I have from time to time performed that last cure for some of my students). I can't give you any advice about strange rashes that might recently have broken out all over your arms, but if you are being kept awake in the middle of the night with questions about the status of national theatre movements in the twentieth century, then by god I would be willing to point you in the right direction.

Yes, that is me in the center of the above photo, making my speedy way through a congratulatory line of professors from my department mere moments after receiving the diploma from the Dean of the Graduate School (the man in red in the bottom left). And, yes indeed, I am wearing a ceremonial velvet tam o'shanter, and, frankly, I think I am rockin' it. Not to mention the doctoral hood, which D insists I must wear as a hood over my head, in a manner which makes me look like something straight out of Tolkien (Sycorax the Cerulean?).

The highlight of the ceremonies? Well, perhaps it was a moment during the Graduate School's convocation when the chosen speaker, an expert on China, was reflecting on how little he knew about the country or its language when he first came to graduate school. At a certain point, he adopted a more somber tone to speak about his beloved mentors, who, he said, had themselves been graduate students in Beijing at the time of Pearl Harbor. With the outbreak of war, they were rounded up as enemy aliens and confined to internment camps. No sooner had the words "internment camps" left his lips, then my parents' cell phone went off. Embarassing? Excruciatingly. All the more so because my parents' ringtone is the sound of an exuberantly clucking chicken.

For a moment I wondered, in the recesses of semi-conscious thought, why I had never noticed that there was a flock of chickens in the courtyard of the Hall of Graduate Studies. Then, in horror, I turned around to see my father (who never carries the cell phone, and thus doesn't have that instinctive urge to turn it off at the start of solemn events), perplexedly patting his pockets to determine the location of the offending poultry commotion.

Or perhaps the highlight was the fact that I received my doctorate in tandem with a Beatle:

Sir Paul (or should I now call him Dr. Sir Paul?) was receiving an honorary doctorate in Music, and was subjected to an endless stream of terrible wordplay based on the Beatles canon.

Or, for that matter, perhaps it was the sight of the Forestry graduates, whose commencement headgear instantly made them my favorite of the professional schools:

Well, there are more tales to be told of post-commencement activities, including a visit to Mark Twain's house, but they will have to wait for another time. Meanwhile, I will savor the exhilarating joys of trying to figure out how to spend the gift-cards to bookstores that I received as graduation gifts. Mmm... new books.

11 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow -- congrats on your new doctoralshipness!

  2. kristen says:

    Way to go!!! Such a great accomplishment...

  3. Bybee says:

    Oh Doc......that's wonderful news. Many warm congratulations!

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Congrats on such an awesome accomplishment!

  6. Congrats!!! And those forestry caps are truly awesome!

  7. JW says:

    Cluck,cluck,cluckety,cluck. (chicken for "sorry.")


    Haha, love the forestry headgear!!

  9. Melwyk says:

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing the day with us, chickens and all. :)

  10. Bookfool says:

    Congratulations! What a terrific accomplishment.

  11. Hey, congrats!!! That is so awesome! Now every time you walk into a room you can say, "The doctor is 'in'!" ;) Seriously though, that is fantastic.

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