Some Special Parts of Being a Professor

Now that I’m a full-time professor at Penn State and serving in the Schreyer Honors College, I’m invited to several graduation ceremonies and parties for the first time in nearly 15 years. I’m so excited to celebrate my students! I’m so excited to have participated in a life’s journey; now I stand as a witness to this right of passage: college graduation.

Today, I’ll attend two receptions (one for my student I advised for her senior thesis as an English major and one for all the graduating seniors) and the Spring Medals Ceremony at a big arena. Tomorrow, I’ll attend a party at a hotel for my thesis advisee. While I won’t have to wear academic regalia from University of Michigan (the robes, hood, tassels, velvet trim, special colors, etc), I still dress up and celebrate at these events. Did you know that professors wear the academic regalia from the school from which they earned their PhD? That’s why every professor looks different on a college graduation platform.

It’s wonderful to be the elder, the one creating the rite of passage for others. So much of growing older means standing as a witness to the success of others and cheering from the stands.

What a joyful day, despite the cold, cold rain. I had a cute spring outfit, but instead, I’m in long pants and a warm suit jacket! That’s Pennsylvania for you!

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