Becoming the 1%: Photos of ASU’s graduate commencement ceremony

I am a big enough person to admit I’ve watched American Idol for years. Not faithfully, mind you, but regularly. And you know what I’ve secretly dreamed about? Being on that stage, winning the contest and twirling around in the inevitable hailstorm of balloons and confetti that announces the finale champion. Having hundreds of giant maroon and gold balloons rain down after being award my Ph.D.? Pretty damn close!

On Wednesday I savored the experience of wearing a Hogwarts-style robe and funny hat, sitting with my friends and mentors at Wells Fargo Arena, and officially receiving my doctoral degree. My mentor and advisor, Dr. Sarah J. Tracy “hooded” me which means placing the doctoral “hood” (really more like a large oddly shaped sash or cape) over my head and formally welcoming me into the elite Ph.D. club. Indeed ASU President Michael Crow shared with the crowd that less than one percent of the population will earn a doctorate in philosophy. (Crazy!) Although I’ve celebrated a lot since finishing up last month, participating in this fairly ancient ritual made being done seem more “real” and pretty damn special.

Of course, I am thrilled to share a few snaps of the day–most by my lovely mother Ann Poffenberger.

Who had to exchange her doctoral hat the morning of graduation for the largest size possible? This gal. I’ve got giant craniums on both sides of the family. Therefore, this So I Think I Married an Ax Murderer clip really resonates.
The whole get up. Each degree (baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral) has a different type of regalia. Academic “costumes” date back to the 12th and 13th centuries when different types of clothing were used to distinguish between various levels of students and teachers.
Mr. T being swallowed by my ginormous tam.
My first and last visit to Wells Fargo Arena.
An almost-doctor!
Me and two of my favorite ladies: Jess Alberts and Angela Trethewey.
Ph.D. candidates and their advisors.
ASU President Michael Crow admonishing us to remember the community of people/organizations that helped get us through school, and to pay forward the blessings and achievements we’ve enjoyed.
The hooding!
The fam had nosebleed seats around the arena as most of the lower-level was taken up by master’s candidates.
After the hooding, we walked on stage and shook the provost’s hand.
Balloon time!
So. Damn. Cool.
We played balloon volleyball while exiting the building. I had to laugh though because I recalled my undergraduate graduation and threats about getting kicked out if there were beach balls or any sort of tomfoolery during the ceremony.
So joyful.
A little perspective. The balloons were yoga ball sized!
We were at somewhat of an aiming disadvantage though. The hats meant decreased peripheral vision.
With some of my dear friends.
Blessedly, Arizona gifted us with gorgeous 80-degree weather for the day.
My wonderful fam! From left: Ray-Dad, Mom-5, Mr. T, me and Marm. Thank you all for making the journey!
Thank you for everything Sarah!
After graduation, I cleaned out the very last of my office stuff and of course, said farewell to Hugh.


Other grad school related posts:
– The dos and don’ts of dissertation writing

-You can call me doctor Blue Muse
– Nerd work
– The dirt on doctoral studies


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.