Friday, May 6, 2011


Today was commencement at CU, always a favorite day of mine. I love everything about it. I love dressing up in my rented regalia, with my orange-and-black Princeton-colored hood, and then helping awkward colleagues don theirs (the hard part is getting the hood not to ride up in the front and getting it to pouf appropriately in the back). I love processing in for "Pomp and Circumstance," holding back happy tears for the solemnity of the moment. I love watching beloved students walk in, as their proud parents leap up with their cameras.

At CU each department has its own commencement ceremony, in addition to the big ceremony in the stadium, which hardly anybody attends any more. The departmental ceremonies have it all: music, costumes, and individual recognition of each student by name. Ours in Philosophy also has witty remarks by our chair - we always have witty chairs - and a commencement address, often by one of us. This year my colleague Robert Pasnau spoke about his sabbatical year in Morocco. And then, the awarding of the diplomas.

After the ceremony comes a champagne reception with lovely nibbles and a chance to tell the parents how wonderful their students are - and it's all TRUE. And then after that, a few of us have the tradition of taking the leftover champagne back to the Philosophy Department and spending the rest of the afternoon drinking it. Today as we drank we shared scandalous tales of the bad behavior of colleagues of the distant past. It's important to preserve this oral history, right?

Now I'm home, and doing laundry, and packing for Cabo. I'll be picked up to go the airport at 6:15 tomorrow morning. But I feel as if I'm on vacation already.

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