Doctoral candidates from Lehigh’s four colleges were honored Sunday for their scholarly achievements during a 75-minute hooding ceremony at Baker Hall marked with cheers and lengthy applause.
“You who receive your hoods today are the intellectual leaders of tomorrow,” Provost Patrick V. Farrell told the nearly 100 graduate students gathered on stage for the ceremony. “That is no small responsibility.” But he said they were well equipped to face the future given the “three formidable attributes” they demonstrated they possess: intellect, passion and perseverance.
Farrell referenced Franklin D. Roosevelt, who once said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” Farrell told the students, “I’m sure there were times you felt at the end of your proverbial rope. Maybe you were questioning your own theories or you were wrestling with a bad case of writer’s block.”
Yet, he said, they had achieved the highest degree in academics, a doctorate. “You stuck it out, you tied the knot and hung on...All your efforts paid off.”
He urged them to be generous with their talents. “And you will do great things,” he said.
President John D. Simon, who opened the ceremony, said the doctorate is a “distinction that marks you as an expert in your chosen field and a person of high intellect and achievement.” Whether the students will choose to become entrepreneurs, educators, work in international or national companies or in public service, he said, “I urge you to use your talents to the fullest.
“The world needs rigorous and independent thinkers like you,” Simon said. “Take risks and find ways to make a difference. And know that we all expect spectacular things from you.”
Following the remarks, the doctoral candidates were called one by one to the front of the stage, with their doctoral hoods draped over an arm. They were joined by their dissertation advisers, who placed the hoods over their heads in recognition of their achievements as family and friends captured the moment on cell phone cameras.
Four students received Stout Dissertation Awards, presented annually and which recognize significant scholarly achievement in a doctoral dissertation project at each college.
Sarah M. Plucinsky, College of Arts and Sciences, chemistry, for “The Biophysical Characterization of Caveolin-1.”
Erkmen Giray Aslim, College of Business and Economics, economics, for “Labor Market and Outreach Effects of Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act.”
Maria Lauer, College of Education, counseling psychology, for “A Multi-Systemic Analysis of Infant Stress Reactivity.”
Charles T. McLaren, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, material science and engineering, for “Electric Field-Induced Softening of Alkali Silicate Glasses.”
Dana C. McClain, English, received the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Award for “Female Republicanism and the Early American Novel.”
The hooding ceremony is part of an academic system of caps, gowns and hoods adopted in 1865. In medieval times, the clothing distinguished clerical and academic groups from the laity. Over time, the clothing has been modified in cut and color to indicate the level attained within the major branches of knowledge.
The candidates were presented by Donald E. Hall, Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Georgette Phillips, Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business and Economics; Gary M. Sasso, dean of the College of Education and John Coulter, senior associate dean of research of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Main Street Brass performed.
Photos by Christa Neu