Here are three stories related to my college graduation which I think are worth retelling.

On the morning of my graduation from Tufts, the doctor who had tended my mother for the previous fifteen years came to the house to look in on her, now terminal and mostly bed- ridden. Dr. McCormick, who had always shown an interest in my school performance, commented to my father that he must be very proud of me that day and asked why he wasn’t getting ready to go to the graduation. When my father said he was not going to the ceremony because he had to stay with my mother, the doctor said, “Oh, no. You can’t miss that. Dorothy has worked too hard. I’ll stay here with Hazel. You go to the graduation.” And so he did. Can you even imagine that happening today?

When I arrived at graduation and received a booklet, much to my surprise I discovered that I was being awarded my diploma magna cum laude. The ceremony was to be held outdoors, the officials and dignitaries covered by a canopy, the graduates in the open, under threatening skies. Toward the end of the speeches, there was actually a light drizzle. Next, the honor graduates were to be acknowledged individually and then the diplomas awarded. Instead it was announced that everyone could pick up their diploma from a stack in a cardboard box in Cousen’s Gym. Just ask any 1960 Tufts graduate what they remember most about that day, and it will be the unceremonious “awarding” of the diploma.

Back at my house, visibly disappointed by the abrupt halting of ceremony, my soon-to-be father-in-law created an impromptu awarding of my diploma. Everyone, including my mother, gathered in the living room, and in a deep, formal voice, he read my diploma in flawless Latin which he then translated. I took a bow, and everyone clapped. The diploma hangs on my wall today, and the only thing I can read is my name.

© Dorothy C. Judd

Next Post: Monday, June 17th



About twofelines

What to say? I love my family and friends. I also love kids, cats, and books. Oh, and potato chips and Cheez-its. I am a retired teacher who still loves to be in the classroom, so now I am a substitute teacher.
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3 Responses to Graduation

  1. Ann says:

    I remember one of the Deans lobbing our degrees in their folders to us, over the crowd in Cousins Gym. (I got there earlier than most.) It was like receiving a flying frisbie, which was so appropriate to me. I’d ‘graduated’ half a year earlier, but they wouldn’t give me my degree until the ceremony. My degree in its ersatz leather cover is in perfect condition. I hate to look at it because my advisor and head of the English Department had told me in December, 1959, “We are taking away your cum laude” because you finished early. We don’t like that.” I do remember with laughs that my mortarboard had gotten so wet on the run over to the gym that it curled up on the sides, and gave us a comedian-look. I returned to Stratton to meet up with my family. Later I gave my degree to my Papa, because he put me through Tufts. I’ll be 75 in December, but I remember Senior Week so clearly. Many good memories of Tufts, and many bad ones; still, I am a member of the Charles Tufts Society. I want my grandchildren to know I valued my education, because the name alone gained me entrée into many job interviews.

  2. Carol D'Agostino says:

    Wow! Never knew about your first story. You didn’t tell this at 50th! What a nice doctor! I have a very good memory of part two. I worried about rain at Paul and Andrew ‘s graduation, but got pictures of them receiving degrees.

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