CCAS doctoral graduates urged to confer knowledge, express gratitude

Media Credit: Jack Fonseca | Contributing Photo Editor

Interim CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck urged graduates to express gratitude toward their families and help the next generation of learners.

About 130 doctoral graduates in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences were honored at a hooding ceremony in Lisner Auditorium Thursday.

At the ceremony, interim CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck and Jeffrey Brand, the associate dean for graduate studies, offered words of encouragement and urged graduating doctoral students to transfer their knowledge onto the next generation of learners.

“Your days of being a student are over,” Wahlbeck said. “It is now your turn to confer knowledge and advance your field. The hood symbolizes the power of knowledge and creativity and its transformative force to improve the world through your work.”

He told graduates to not get sidetracked by rejected manuscripts or negative reviews on their research. Graduates should instead focus on evidence-based decision making and intellectual passion, Wahlbeck said.

Wahlbeck added that earning a doctorate degree is a “special moment” and encouraged graduates to look back on the milestone and thank those who have helped them achieve their degree.

“As you reflect on your years here, picture for a moment the face of someone who helped you arrive at this moment today: a classmate, a family member, a teacher,” Wahlbeck said. “Those are the faces you’ll never forget. For someone, someday, you’ll be the face they never forget.”

Brand, the associate dean for graduate studies, said completing a doctorate is “immensely difficult,” but graduates will be more comfortable in the workforce with a high degree under their belts.

“The next time you’re about to start something that’s challenging, intimidating you’re not quite sure you can see it through, I hope you’ll always say to yourself, ‘Well, I finished my doctorate, so I can do this,’” Brand said.

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