MIT Commencement 2002 - Investiture of Doctoral Degree Hoods

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

PHILLIP L. CLAY: Good afternoon and welcome to the hooding ceremony for doctoral degree candidates for the class of 2002. Have a seat.

[APPLAUSE]

This is a simple, happy, informal ceremony, during which we will invest members of the class with the doctoral hoods. We will start with comments from President Charles Vest.

[APPLAUSE]

CHARLES VEST: Good afternoon. Several years ago, when our daughter received a graduate degree from another institution, an honorary doctorate was presented to the well-known columnist William Raspberry. And when the president came up to hood him and intoned the traditional spiel that went something like, by the powers invested in me by the trustees of this institution, I hereby present you with this doctoris honoris causa and all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto, Raspberry walked over to the microphone and he said, Mr. President, exactly what are the rights and privileges pertaining thereto? To which the president replied, damned if I know.

[LAUGHTER]

But we know what rights and privileges you folks are vested with today. It is those that go along with reaching an absolute pinnacle in higher education. Earning a doctoral degree from this esteemed institution is a true mark of diligence and excellence. And we know that you are going to take those talents, that knowledge that you have developed here and use it to the betterment of humankind and our Earth. And we are very grateful for that.

But today it is my distinct pleasure, on behalf of the Corporation, the faculty, and the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to welcome all of you to this, as Phil has said, informal and happy occasion. We're particularly delighted to have so many family members and friends here, husbands, wives, partners, parents, uncles, aunts, and especially children. And the one role I really delight in, at both this hooding ceremony and at the larger institute commencement tomorrow, is to use what little authority I have to give my blessing to all the children to comment on these proceedings in any way they see fit as we go through.

Congratulations to all of you. Welcome. And thank you all so much for being here with these fine graduates.

[APPLAUSE]

PHILLIP L. CLAY: As in other parts of the commencement exercise, the emphasis is on the beginnings that you now undertake. And it's also about celebrating the power of education. The purpose of this informal exercise is to invest members of the class with robes, or with hoods, that will symbolize to the world your membership in the academy, that select group of men and women who have earned the highest academic degrees. You do not, however, have to wear this hood all the time.

While this ceremony is informal, there is a serious purpose. The goal is for the faculty to celebrate your passage from the status of our students to the status of our colleagues. This is an important step. You should be proud of your achievement. And we, the members of the faculty, are proud to be here to witness it. And I'm sure I join my faculty colleagues in wishing you every success in your professional career and in your lives.

We look forward to long years of association with you as members of the academy and learning societies, as colleagues in the profession, and as members of the MIT alumnae, alumni, and extended family. You need not wear your hood for identification purposes, but you should keep it handy for occasions which do occur from time to time. So I want to say a few words about this academic regalia.

The cap is fairly simple, and I won't dwell on that. But it does not matter which side your tassel hangs. That's a question which I can tell you is not very important. The doctoral robe is typically black, with velvet trim, very puffy sleeves that will become very hot tomorrow about this time.

A few years ago, MIT adopted the silver-gray gown, trimmed in cardinal red. Some of you, I see have, already gotten with the program. This scholar's gown has its origins in medieval times, when professors at European universities wore their gowns as part of their daily clothing, much as we wear raincoats. Heavy woolen gowns provided warmth in chilly and barely heated university buildings.

Our robes today are considerably lighter and are only won on special academic ceremonies. Unlike our medieval predecessors, we do not want to highlight the town-gown divide that wearing your robes around Cambridge would signal. The traditions associated with American universities were formalized in 1895, when representatives from several institutions met to establish the Academic Costume Code. This is the code which guides our regalia today.

Now to the focus on the hood. MIT awards two hoods. The hoods are the same, except for interior lining. Those receiving the Doctor of Philosophy degree will have a blue lining, denoting success in mastering the process of seeking wisdom and truth. Those receiving the Doctor of Science degree will have a yellow or golden lining, symbolizing the high value and the contributions of science.

For those of you who are receiving the joint degree with Woods Hole, there will be-- what that's called-- Old Glory blue stripe will be added, which I suspect has something to do with the color of the ocean. And those of you who are in the joint program with the Harvard Medical School will receive a hood that has green, denoting life. For other degrees, which we do not offer, but in case you see people on the street with these hoods, signal different traditions.

For example, students who have a MD in medicine will have the green trim. Lawyers will have royal purple. And those who receive the doctor of Business Administration, which we do not offer, by the way, will have a drab lining. Drab is an official color.

[LAUGHTER]

You might wonder which color hood you will receive. Well, that depends on which block you checked on some form you filled out in March. You might ask, what is the purpose of a hood? Hoods were originally its use as head covers, hence hood. At other times, hoods serve as a shoulder cape or as a bag for arms.

You will note that there is a little bag at the bottom of your hood. I don't know anything that people normally put in it anymore. What has survived in the US is a rather modest and general vestment, having no instrumental purpose, but they are very pretty.

I'm sure when you applied to graduate school some years ago, you had no idea what sartorial legacy you were buying into. So to close out this segment of these proceedings, I want you to get a sample of what you might have worn. So I have asked some of my colleagues to serve as models.

[LAUGHTER]

Let's start with what you might have worn if you had graduated from Harvard at the other end of Massachusetts Avenue. So I'm going to ask my colleague, Professor Claude Canizares to show you the Harvard outfit.

[LAUGHTER]

[APPLAUSE]

Princeton has a very colorful outfit, which I'll ask my colleague Professor Wes Harris to show us.

[APPLAUSE]

Professor Joanne Yates will show us the robe and hood from the University of North Carolina.

[APPLAUSE]

And Professor Wanda Orlikowski from the Sloan School will shows us the NYU robe.

[APPLAUSE]

Now, I've been informed that at Berkeley they could not agree on the hooding.

[LAUGHTER]

And so I want to ask Charlie Sodini and his other colleagues who graduated from Berkeley to stand up and show us the Berkeley robes.

[APPLAUSE]

Yale was not to be left out. So let me ask Professor Jay Keyser to show us the Yale outfit.

[APPLAUSE]

And to round out our presentation, let me ask professors Tom Magnanti and Tayo Akinwande to show us the Stanford robes.

[APPLAUSE]

Well, just so that you have a bit of history, let's look at some of the robes from our European colleagues. Let's start with Professor Tomaso Poggio to show us the robe from the University of Pavia.

[APPLAUSE]

And Professor John Williams, the University of Wales.

[APPLAUSE]

Professor Lotte Bailyn has an honorary degree from the University of Piraeus in Greece and has a hood which is in the tradition of the hood as stole, Lotte.

[APPLAUSE]

And last but not least, as close to Cambridge as we could get today, the University of London, Professor Vernon Ingram.

[APPLAUSE]

So that is a bit of history and a bit of the variety in the regalia. And with this, we want to turn to the main business of this event, which is the investment of ropes-- of hoods, I'm sorry. Now, you have your hood. You have your robe.

[LAUGHTER]

Professor Jay Keyser will assist by reading the names of the candidates. We will go by school and by department. Assisting me in investing in robes will be a departmental representative or a professor in the department other than the department head. And Dr. Isaac Colbert, Dean of the Graduate School, will also assist. The faculty marshals will assist students in proceeding to the stage and in reclaiming their seats afterwards.

JAY KEYSER: We will now invest the candidates for the degrees of Doctor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy with their hoods in the School of Architecture and Planning. Assisting Dean Colbert is the head of the Department of Architecture, Professor Stanford Anderson.

[APPLAUSE]

[READING NAMES]

The head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning is Professor Bishwapriya Sanyal for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Bishwapriya's name means "someone who is loved by the world," which is not a bad way in Bengali. It's a wonderful way to be named. My mother made named me, "look who's coming."

[LAUGHTER]

[READING NAMES]

Representing the program in Media Arts and Sciences, Professor Stephen Benton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

In the School of Engineering, the Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor Chiang Mai, for the Degree of Doctor of Science.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Ain Sonin, for the degree of Doctor of Science.

[READING NAMES]

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Mahadevan Balasubramaniam.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Material Science and Engineering, professor. Samuel Allen, for the degree of Doctor of Science.

[READING NAMES]

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor John Guttag. For the degree of Doctor of Science.

[READING NAMES]

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor Robert Armstrong, for the degree of Doctor of Science.

[READING NAMES]

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Ocean Engineering, Professor Chrysostomos Chrysostomides, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is Professor Wesley Harris, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, Professor Jeffrey Freidberg, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health, Professor William Thilly, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Engineering Systems Division Program in Technology Management and Policy is Professor Daniel Hastings, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Political Science, Professor Joshua Cohen. Never mind. Ah, yes, I skipped the page. Excuse me. In the School of Humanities and Social Science, the Head of the Department of Economics Professor James Poterba, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Political Science, Professor Josh Cohen, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

I hope those gifts didn't come out of the department budget.

[LAUGHTER]

If you're out of gifts, we're out of-- the Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Professor Alec Marantz, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

In the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, Professor Merritt Roe Smith, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

In the Sloan School of Management, Professor Gabriel Bitran, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

And her husband just got his degree in Core 6, same degree, two in the family in one day.

[APPLAUSE]

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Program in Operations Research, Professor Cynthia Barnhart for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

If you're wondering what we talk about up here, we're negotiating what the name is.

[READING NAMES]

In the School of Science, the Head of the Department of Chemistry, Professor Stephen Lippard, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

And her husband just got his degree in Core 6, same degrees, two in the family in one day.

[APPLAUSE]

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Program in Operations Research, Professor Cynthia Barnhart, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

If you're wondering what we talk about up here, we're negotiating what the name is.

[LAUGHTER]

[READING NAMES]

In the School of Science, the Head of the Department of Chemistry, Professor Stephen Lippard, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Biology, Professor Terry Orr-Weaver, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Physics, Professor Mark Kesner, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

That's a Hawaiian lei he's wearing there.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Professor Ted Gibson, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Representing the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Professor Ronald Prinn, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Head of the Department of Mathematics, Professor David Vogan, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

The Dean of Graduate Studies at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dr. John Farrington, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

[READING NAMES]

Degree recipients in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology received their hoods yesterday. Is that right? So what are you doing here?

[LAUGHTER]

Nonetheless, the young man here, you can tell he's a PhD. He wants a second one.

[LAUGHTER]

They will now be recognized and congratulated. In the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Vice President for Research and Associate Provost Alice Gast, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

[READING NAMES]

Oh, so it is. Thank you.

[READING NAMES]

She's just pointed out to me that this is not Alice Gast. This is Roger Mark of the Division of Health Sciences awarding the degree. Where's Alice Gast?

[READING NAMES]

PHILLIP L. CLAY: That was nice. Our tradition in closing this ceremony is to ask the faculty to stand, to give a hearty salute, and extend their best wishes to the PhD class of 2002.

[APPLAUSE]

Just one announcement, the reception for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is in a different room than indicated in the program. It is still in Building 34, but will take place in room 401. the faculty and the stage assembly will recess. After the faculty has departed, the degree candidates do not recess, but may join their faculty and families in the reception in the Steinbrenner Stadium, which is adjacent to this building. Thank you very much.

[APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC PLAYING]