Monday, August 25, 2008


Thirty years ago tonight, I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati.

It was rather anticlimactic, really. My classmates had already graduated in June. I had to complete two courses that were dropped in my junior year, all because I was ambitious enough to take two film classes at the same time. So I spent the summer completing an ongoing project, and being a teaching assistant.

The keynote speaker for the June commencement had been the former mayor of Cincinnati, Jerry Springer. (My encounters with him are another story. Don't get me started...) I don't even remember who we had for the August commencement. Must have been equally unremarkable. But you know that moment when students are called up to the podium one by one and handed their "sheepskin" by a distinguished academician dressed in his regalia? Fat chance! Graduates of the College of Design Architecture and Art were directed to the back of the hall, where our Dean, dressed in a suit without regalia, walked up to a table carrying a cardboard box, and started handing them out, definitely without ceremony. My high school graduation had more pomp and circumstance. (Maybe our degrees were on back order.)

My sister Pat and my brother joined me from the cheap seats. We went to Aunt Margie's house for the after-grad party. Mom did something she had rarely if ever done up to that time; she gave me a big hug. She never was very sentimental, but maybe something finally got to her.

In the years since, I've learned that the wearing of the "bachelor's hood" is more common. I don't know if they do that at UC now, but I'm getting one for myself anyway. When I step up to receive my diploma in web design -- one of these days -- I'm going to look like I've "been there, done that" already.

They won't mind. I might even get applause.

For once.

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