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Graduate Graduation

The graduate graduation ceremony came off about as well as I could have hoped. There was a lively group of demonstrators at the approach to the Mullins Center handing out stickers with a "no card" symbol and yellow 11x17 flyers that explained why people were protesting Andrew Card and unfolded to make a sign that said "HONOR GRADS" and "DIS CARD". The majority of the faculty had a sticker, a sign or both.

The ceremony was lovely and unremarkable except for three events. The first was when Chancellor Lombardi stood up to speak. He received an immediate, enthusiastic, and sustained standing ovation from the faculty and students. The second was the contrast when Presichancellor Wilson came to the microphone. The faculty were silent. There were a few boos and catcalls from the students and audience, but the faculty were simply silent. Wilson seemed very unnerved and stumbled over his words several times. As I've noted in the past, the Chancellor always speaks about the students and what they bring to the campus, whereas Wilson talks about the campus and how lucky students should feel that they got to come here. The silence was really deafening, broken only when Wilson mentioned Craig Mello's Nobel Prize.

The last remarkable event was when Andrew Card was announced. The first honorary degree candidate was met with polite and enthusiastic applause. When the provost mentioned Card, the entire audience took to their feet and erupted with chanting, noisemakers, and holding up the yellow signs. It was remarkable. The platform party carried ahead with the ceremony -- they tried to turn the volume up, but the audience got louder and louder until Card took his seat. Then the signs came down, the student stood up, and we had a lovely ceremony. I got a few pictures that I'll try to get posted soon.