(Pre) Graduation Day

I like rituals. I think they hold some value–especially when they commemorate beginnings and endings. Today we held commencement for the School of Informatics (I link with shame to our desperately confused website). It was a bit confused, but all worked out in the end.

The picture is of me, Chiung-Wen Hsu, who defended her dissertation last week (a comparison of attitudes toward online privacy, privacy statements on websites, and public policy in the US, Holland, Taiwan, and China), and Chun-ta Peng, who is one of my masters students and will be defending his thesis (a study on motivations of lurkers and posters on a BBS) shortly.

The funny thing is that Julia (Chiung-Wen) was the exception. Most of the students hadn’t yet finished everything needed for graduation. I understand this of course, things don’t always line up at the end of the year, especially for graduate students. But it’s a little funny nonetheless.

It’s particularly strange for the Masters in Informatics students. None of them are done–nor could they be. At a minimum, it is a 3 semester program, and most finish in the summer. So when it turns out only a handful showed for commencement, it’s hardly shocking.

What we need is a hook. A tradition that is unique to the school. And I don’t mean our lame Venn-diagram logo. (I’m sorry, Dave, I know you like it, and I know Wolf Blitzer likes it, but I think it is cringingly uncompelling.) We need something of a mascot, something we can all gather around. After all, our school is something like a new marriage, but we have nothing old, borrowed, or blue.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted 5/10/2003 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    The website makes demands on one’s browser. But this is a really nice photo!

  2. Posted 5/11/2003 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks! And yes, I know. There is too much going on on the page. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to overhaul it in the next few weeks.

  3. Jeff
    Posted 5/11/2003 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Did you shave your head? Maybe it’s just the picture, but I don’t see any hair. Telly Savalas look out!

  4. Alex Halavais
    Posted 5/11/2003 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Close, but not quite. Jamie (who has been cutting my hair since we moved to Japan*) has resisted my shaving it off entirely. Right now, it is about tennis-ball length :). I also had a beard for a while, and I’m not allowed to grow it back until I really am bald. I think only a true optimist would say I am anything but bald at this point, but–probably with reason–she thinks that if I shave my head I’m likely to grow back my beard–or at least my goatee.

    * There is a story behind this. I worked for a city government in Odawara, Japan soon after we were married. On the 5th floor of the city hall there was a small barber shop for city employees, which employed an exceedingly cute barberette. One of my (unmarried, at the time, though he eventually married a Japanese woman and signed up at the State Department for an exciting career in diplomacy) colleagues never went more than a couple of weeks without a haircut. One could attribute that to excessive vanity, or to the fact that the expense–especially for Japan–was minimal. But neither I nor anyone else thought that was the reason he went. Jamie suggested I not adopt the same habit.

    Anyway, since salons were pretty expensive, and I had no Tom Cruisian follicle aspirations, Jamie started cutting my hair. And my ears, at first, but by now she’s expert.

  5. Posted 5/12/2003 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    A goatee would be interesting. You would look like the evil twin Halavais from an alternate dimension.

  6. Posted 5/14/2003 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Princeton won’t let PhDs take part in graduation unless we’d defended by then. Actually, it’s stricter than that. We have to have defended by the last Trustees meeting before graduation so they can approve the degree. The deadline this year was precisely a month before graduation day. And let’s not forget the two-week quiet period (dissertation finished, on hold to be viewed by faculty). So in essence, unless someone had written it all up by April 15th this year, they are not marching. That would be most of my friends. Of course, there will be people marching, they’re the ones who left last year. I guess there’s a year lag around here.. it’s one way to get people to attend Reunions (which is at the same time).

  7. Cory
    Posted 5/15/2003 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The logo looks good without color, and our pins are cool… Sometimes less is more, in terms of the website, too clustered. Space Ghost’s evil twin = Chad; Alex with a goatee = i ahve no friggin clue…

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