June 12th will be the 55th anniversary of my graduation from Tufts. Back in the day, women went through a separate, more rigorous admissions process and were actually enrolled in Jackson College of Tufts University. However we attended all Tufts classes, except for separate gym classes, and received a Tufts diploma .
Graduation day dawned cloudy with the threat of rain, but the ceremony was still outside. Soon after we were seated, it began to drizzle. However we continued to sit there listening to the introductions of honorary degree award recipients and speeches by various dignitaries. Because of a recent discussion in the staff room at school, I Googled the name of the main speaker. It was Hiram Fong, senator from Hawaii and first Asian- American elected to the senate. I don’t remember a word he said, but what I do remember is that once all the dignitaries had finished and it was time for the actual graduates, it was announced that due to the rain, the ceremony was over, and we could pick up our diplomas in the gym.
Unlike many other colleges where the name of each student is read, Tufts custom at the time was that only the name of honor graduates would be called, and they would stand in the audience for recognition. I was vastly disappointed to miss my moment as I graduated Magna cum Laude, but I scrambled to the gym with everyone else and fished my diploma out of a cardboard box.
Luckily my wonderful father-in-law, the Honorable Orrin G. Judd, saved the day. Back at my house he gathered everyone in the living room and proceeded to read the diploma in flawless Latin (Later translating it for everyone ) and, presenting the diploma with a flourish, had me take a bow.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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