The Graduate (Magna Cum Laude)

May 17, 2009 21:47 – 21:47

This morning was an early one. We needed to be at BU for Katie’s 9 am convocation ceremony, which meant leaving the hotel by around 8, which meant getting up at around 6:30, which meant going to bed early, which meant… who knows what. I sure am glad I don’t have to do that every day.

We arrived at BU at about 8:50—much to our surprise, given the heavy traffic. By 9, we were seated in the auditorium and waiting for the procession of just under 100 graduates in mathematics and statistics. That’s right. I’m now officially the proud parent of a mathematician and statistician. Cue the recording of Pomp and Circumstance, and in they came.

A little something about planning. When the gowns are this color:

And the stage backdrop is this color:

What’s wrong with this picture? The answer is “floating heads.”

In any case, there was a fairly difficult-to-hear introduction by the department chair, Ralph D’Agostino. It was a combination of his being a bit hoarse and the sound person not making the needed adjustments. The profs did have cool hats, though. I’ll give ’em that. Ralph talked a bit about the standing of the math and stat department—which is 7th in the U.S.—ahead of places like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. Not too shabby.

After Ralph came a much more entertaining address by the student speaker, Hamilton Hoxie Ackerman, who received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree today. The central theme of his speech was about six-word-memoirs, inspired by the NYT bestseller, Not Quite What I Was Planning. He said his might be “four years, two degrees, no fun.” He also speculated a headline “graduating student’s address receives standing ovation” (or something like that). His talk was a welcome contrast to others’ remarks, and we made his speculated memoir a reality.

I worked with the contrast a little to make him look less like a floating head.

Following Mr. Ackerman, Dr. Glenn Howard Stevens addressed the class. He spoke about the contributions of Boston University to mathematics and statistics.

After that came the on-stage procession of graduates, including one you might know.

Katherine Anne Windau Tyson, Magna Cum Laude, which is Latin for “nicely done.”

And here’s Katie with her proud parents. Word of advice to the father—get more sleep next time!

Following Katie’s receiving her degree and accolades, we got into the car and drove to Arlington Street [Unitarian Universalist] Church. There, we enjoyed a stirring service celebrating the 5th anniversary of same sex marriage in Massachusetts. Afterwards, we headed up the block to Au Bon Pain for a quick lunch, and then back to the car.

We took Katie back to her apartment so she could change into something more comfortable than her graduation dress and white shoes. We had made plans to meet up with Heather’s family at Kimball’s for ice cream. So, we headed off to the west, stopping first at the hotel so we could make some hot tea.

We were to meet the Concannons at 3:30. We were running a little ahead of schedule, so we first stopped at a small history museum in Westford. It was very cute—with refreshments and a rather elaborate computer-controlled model train setup. From there, we headed to Kimball’s Farm, an ice cream establishment (and more), with goats and chickens, and lots of other stuffs.

The Concannons were every bit as delightful as Katie told us they would be. We enjoyed ice cream and conversation for quite a while, and felt only a few raindrops. Heather’s family has a lot of entertaining stories—many of them involving hamsters, gerbils, and other furry creatures.

Amy—Heather’s younger sister who will be graduating from HS in a few weeks—needed to do some homework, so we all exchanged hugs and parted company, and we headed back to the car.

A little bit of planning later, we decided to have a light dinner of beer (to further test our new beer glasses) and Lexington House of Pizza pizza, which Katie had never tasted before. I think she now understands why we rave about it. Following pizza, we chauffeured Katie back to Boston. She’s in the process of packing up to move on Tuesday. She’s subletting her third of the Aberdeen apartment, and is moving to Jamaica Plain. She and her friend Abby, along with an unnamed draft player to be decided later, plan to rent a 3-bedroom apartment in JP beginning in September. After many hugs, we left Aberdeen and headed back to Burlington, where we are now. Tomorrow morning, we hit the road for home.

  1. 2 Responses to “The Graduate (Magna Cum Laude)”

  2. Cool. We never know who’s watching! Much luck to you in your endeavors… and we really did enjoy your remarks.

    By Herb Tyson on May 29, 2009

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  2. May 29, 2009: Everything I Hoped And Then Some « Statistically Significant

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