GSEHD doctoral students honored for their research and diversity

Media Credit: Alexander Welling | Assistant Photo Editor

Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, tells doctoral students to value their contributions to academic research.

Speakers at the doctoral hooding ceremony for the Graduate School for Education and Human Development celebrated students for reaching an exclusive milestone in their lives.

GSEHD Dean Michael Feuer emphasized the exclusivity and honor of the “club” GSEHD doctoral students joined upon receiving their diplomas at Lisner Auditorium Friday. He said the group of people with doctorates in education is unique because admittance is based solely on merit, rather than one’s privilege or physical characteristics.

“Membership is not a function of class, or religion, or race, it’s a club whose membership is about the quality of work you have done and your commitment to advancing the life of our country,” Feuer said.

He expressed gratitude for the diversity of the students on the stage, adding that the many faiths and races represented gave him a reason to be optimistic despite a fraught political and social climate.

“In this somewhat strange and challenging time, I can’t thank you enough for giving me such evidence to bolster my hope in our collective future,” he said.

Maxine Freund, GSEHD’s associate dean for research and external relations, praised the graduates for receiving their doctoral degrees, an achievement she said is conferred upon just 2 percent of the U.S. population. She recognized how the path to receiving a doctorate is often made more difficult for students as a result of family and work commitments.

Freund said the doctoral candidates all “made an original contribution to knowledge and practice, and are ready to do more.”

At the ceremony, Feuer and a faculty member who oversaw the student’s dissertation awarded each doctoral hood, while Freund read a short summary of the recipient’s research and accomplishments from their time at GW.

Freund added that the “size and splendor” of the hood is proportional to the difficulty and prestige of the degree itself.

Dean Feuer concluded the ceremony by reminding the graduates that any contribution to research or education, no matter how small, is valuable.

“If at times you find the problems to be too big, and you’d like to be solving and making lives better for everyone, don’t forget the old saying ‘if you’ve saved on soul, you’ve saved the universe.”

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