At long last! My University of California, Riverside Ph.D. diploma has finally arrived (heck, it only took the university nearly eight months to grow the tree and then make the ink so they could run the paper through a laser printer). Needless to say, I’m thrilled! I am also pleased to find that it states that I earned a Ph.D. in Education (Special Education). Although all Ph.D. Candidates in the Graduate School of Education at UCR earn Ph.D.s in “education,” there are several specializations within the field. Obviously, mine was in Special Education and I wasn’t aware that the specialization would be noted on my diploma (my M.A. diploma did not mention my specialization). Anyway, it’s great to finally receive the piece of paper that signifies that I’ve earned a Ph.D.
I’ve long waited for this day! On June 16, 2014 I participated in the 60th Commencement Ceremony at the University of California, Riverside. Although my degree was “certified” on January 8, 2014 and “conferred” on March 21, 2014, UCR only has one set of commencement ceremonies each year – at the end of the academic year in June. That means I had to wait forever for the big moment!
This year, there were seven commencement ceremonies at UCR with nearly 5,500 graduates participating. Fortunately, the ceremony for UCR’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) is one of the smallest; there were just 105 graduates at our ceremony and only nine Ph.D.s were conferred. Of course, simple math reveals that many of the other ceremonies were huge but I’m glad mine wasn’t.
I’m very grateful that UCR took a video of the ceremony. The following video was created by obtaining a screen capture and then adding some more “fun stuff.” I’ve also reduced the ceremony from approximately 90 minutes down to just 7. Of course, these are the seven minutes that are most meaningful to me – UCR’s bagpipe band (I took bagpipe lessons many years ago), portions of the processional, the “big moment”, and a few still photos that were taken following the ceremony. FYI, the “BIG Moment” (when I am “hooded” by my academic advisor) occurs five minutes into the video. Spoiler alert! The last photo was taken a few hours after the ceremony – my “wild cousin,” who is visiting from Maryland, insisted that I put on my regalia so she could get some photos at the beach. What fun!
It’s hard to believe but on March 21, 2014 my degree was “conferred.” In other words, that was the official date that my graduation was recorded on the University transcripts. Of course, I’ve been done for many months and the conferral of the degree was merely a formality. Just the same, it is now behind me. The only thing I have remaining is the commencement ceremony in June (yes, that’s still a few gazillion years away). I’m really looking forward to that.
For the first time in nearly six years, I’m no longer a student. Although it has been a tremendous honor to have attended a world-class research institution such as UCR, it still feels great that I’m done. I couldn’t have imagined a better university to attend. Now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!