Yesterday afternoon, we attended the diploma ceremony for Case's Weatherhood School of Management. Vic was there to receive his master of science in management - operations research (MSM-OR) degree.
There were a bunch of people on Van Horn field before the ceremony started. I ran into Joe Prahl, chair of the aerospace engineering department, there - I see him everywhere! There were so many smiling grads surrounded by proud family members snapping photos and shooting videos.
While Nico and I were waiting for the ceremony to begin, we ran into our friend Bash, Vic's classmate. She was with her family who had traveled from Nigeria for the ceremony. It was the first time I met Bash's father. It was nice to finally meet him and to see Bash's mom again, and her fiance, Kalu, too.
Joining me and Nico for the ceremony were Vic's father, his stepmother Marilyn, his Uncle Wayne and Aunt Connie, and my parents. I was really happy that my parents came. My sister's graduation ceremony (she earned a master's degree in social work) was this weekend too and since none of us traveled to California for that, I'm glad my parents at least got to see Vic's ceremony.
Vic looked great in his cap and gown! I didn't take any photos of him wearing the regalia, but I think (hope) my dad did. During the processional, we were surprised to see a medal hanging from a ribbon on his chest. Apparently, he won a dean's academic achievement award (he earned a perfect 4.0 throughout his program).
The diploma ceremony itself was really cool. Weatherhead has a tradition where family members can join graduates as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. Originally, Vic hadn't planned to participate in the ceremony, but changed his mind when he learned about this tradition. So when his name was called, Vic, Nico and I got to share in the experience, along with Vic's father, stepmother, uncle and aunt. Nico was so excited that he got to be on "TV" (the projected screen displaying a close-up view of the stage).
It was really inspiring to see graduates from all over the world in one room, some in their native dress. I saw one Japanese woman who looked breathtaking in her kimono. Some grads had entourages of more than 10 people join them onstage. The audience clapped extra long for those amazing displays of family support.
I'm really glad we decided to take part in the ceremony. I had skipped my master's degree ceremony, but yesterday made me wish I hadn't. I hope that Nico will remember the ceremony and want to experience for himself one day.
After the ceremony, Vic's dad took all of out to dinner. When we got home, Vic and I shared a bottle of champagne and spent the night talking about what a great day it was. We pored through the commencement booklet and marveled all the accomplishments the graduates had achieved - double and triple majors, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, etc. We talked about possible future plans for further education. Vic asked me, "So, when do you want to start on that PhD?" Hmm.