Sunday, April 24, 2011


Graduation? Already? You are asking. Yes, Reader. No spring break. Minimal winter break. Remember?

We are all graduated here at G.O.D. University. I know this, because I attended the ceremonies. Two of them. I was pressured into attending by an email message. The message said:

"Just a reminder that all faculty are asked to attend graduation exercises at least once per year. If you do not have robes, the department will pay the rental costs..."

Last year, I may or may not have attended any ceremonies. This year I felt a little guilty, so rented the gear and showed up. Twice. Once for the university, once for the college.

Graduation from the faculty side is a little different. The speakers are just as boring, but you get to wear super special graduation robes in multi colors that say "Hey! Look over here! I am Pompous!" And you get to sit on the very front row.

Sitting on the very front row is not actually much of a perk, because you can't nod off. Or start reading the paper you brought along for the boring parts.

But wearing the multi-colored robes is definitely a perk -- if you happen to own them and you didn't just do the free department rental thing.

Here are some things I've learned about faculty graduation robes. The color of the robe is black, if it's a rental, but if not, it will be in the colors of the university at which you received your doctorate, according to that university's own custom robe design. I looked mine up online, and it's pretty snazzy. Black with a red front and half red sleeves, colored lining. Nice.

Glad I didn't graduate from Princeton. Halloween stripes. Or Dartmouth, in green. Although Dartmouth has a super awesome hat. Like a leprechaun. See, the different universities choose different hats, too. And then everyone wears this strangulating thing around the neck and dangling half way down the back which is called a hood. That comes in the school colors and the color of the degree.

I have been coveting my graduation robes. I would wear them once a year. Ish. As asked. I would stand out in that pile of pompous faculty as the one in the snazzy robe with the red sleeves and the gold lining. But I looked it up online, and the official set of robes and hat costs about $1000.

What!? For once a year-ish?

There's a cheaper fake imitation set, that looks enough like the real thing that I'd buy it, but it still costs $360. Even so, I would only have to attend about 11-12 graduations before making up the rental cost to my department. And perhaps I could convince my child to get a PhD at the same university in golden-yellow math or science, and then he could inherit the robes. Smelly and moth eaten.


Another reason I want to buy my own robes is that I'm convinced the department secretary ordered the wrong color. Because my degree is in math and science, the velvet lining should be golden yellow. A louder voice in the department said that the degree is a doctor of Philosophy, and therefore the color should be blue for philosophy and political science. I am sure that is wrong, and I am looking for validation here. At my own graduation I wore yellow. I have a picture of it. And yellow is a nicer color. And goes better with the red sleeves of the gown I covet. You see how right I must be, Reader? If I bought my own regalia, I could buy golden yellow and look even better dressed.

Because as a faculty member, attending graduation has got to be about looking the best. It's not about friends and family -- there's nobody out there in the bleachers waiting to take your picture, or crying over your accomplishments. All those words in the speeches about going out into the real world? They don't apply. I will stay here at G.O.D. University, and remain fake. And as a new faculty member, I don't even know any of the students graduating. Although they all look nice, too.

Therefore, I have determined that I must attend graduation so I can parade in with all those colors, like a clown. And then provide entertainment as I begin to nod off on the front row. Right?

If you would like to donate to my clown robe fund, please contact me.

1 comment:

Veiltender said...

I'd love to donate, but I'm saving up for my own clown robes--which are also pretty classy (although maybe I should focus on finishing the degree first). I do remember looking at Princeton's robes, and thinking "It must be Halloween all year at Princeton." I actually looked up the various robes while applying, just so I could be properly situated