Thursday’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony marked a milestone in the lives of 111 UNC Greensboro doctoral scholars. As their names were individually announced in the ceremony in UNCG Auditorium, and they received their hooding from their faculty mentor, they also received a hug and applause. And they knew they had accomplished their goal.

111 doctoral degrees were conferred. Dr. Kelly Burke, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, provided the welcome. Dr. Andrea Hunter, chair of the Faculty Senate, and Ward Russell, Board of Trustees member, also spoke.

Dr. Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean of the College of Education and Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership in Education at the University of Northern Iowa, served as the speaker for the ceremony. Jean-Marie earned her PhD in educational leadership and cultural studies from UNCG in 2002.

She talked about how earning her doctorate at UNCG forever changed the trajectory of her life.

“My experience at UNCG laid the foundation for what was to come in my career as a professor, to my leadership role as dean today,” she said. “What I didn’t realize then is that my profession would serve as the vehicle to be a difference-maker in ways I never expected.”

Jean-Marie went on to encourage the graduates to “seize the moments to make you, our communities, and the world better.”

After each graduate had received their hooding, Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. spoke about the value of a doctoral education. And then he told them he was going to deviate from his prepared remarks:

“I’m really proud of you all today,” he said, looking at the newly minted doctoral graduates in front of him. “I know many of you have sacrificed to get this degree.”

He advised them to do three things, now:

“Today, relax a bit.”

Second? “Reflect.” Take time to reflect on your life, your place in society, those who support you, and what you will do next, he said.

“And finally, refresh. Do something you love – that’s not work.” That brought knowing laughter and applause from the graduates and audience.

“You’re getting ready to march into the next phase of life, with your degree in hand,” he told the new graduates. “You are now in the Spartan family forever.”

With that, the graduates ceremoniously processed out, as the UNCG Brass Quintet played. And outside the auditorium a wonderful scene grew, of joyful tears and hugs, lots of smiles, and plenty of impromptu group photos with classmates, faculty, and family.

 

Story by Mike Harris, University Communications
Photography by Lynn Hey