The Patriot Center at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus hosted families, friends, and excited graduates at two convocation ceremonies this spring. On May 14, the college celebrated its graduates in the humanities and interdisciplinary programs, and on May 15, the college honored its graduates in the social sciences. Altogether, more than 1300 new Mason alumni crossed the stage to receive their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees.
The convocation ceremony for the humanities and interdisciplinary programs welcomed Karin Tooze, MA English ’09, as its speaker. Tooze is an experienced English teacher at the high school level who was recognized as the 2012 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher by the Washington Post Educational Foundation. She spoke to the graduates about the value of humanities skills: interpretation, creativity, attention to detail, and above all, exceptional writing.
The convocation ceremony for the social sciences featured speaker Raj Ratwani, MA ’04, PhD Psychology ’08. Ratwani serves as the scientific director of MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. Ratwani spoke to the graduates about a philanthropic endeavor he had undertaken: a “philanthropub” that had been dedicated to donating 100% of its profits to charitable organizations. The restaurant eventually closed, and Ratwani mined that experience for lessons on perseverance in the face of failure.
Following the speakers’ remarks in each ceremony, Jamie Cooper, Senior Associate Academic Dean for Academic Affairs, presented the candidates for degrees, beginning with bachelor degree candidates, followed by those for master’s and doctoral degrees. He explained how the hooding of doctoral candidates is symbolic of the scholarly growth of both the doctoral student and his or her mentor. All of the degree candidates were enthusiastically applauded by their friends and families.
Dean Boehm-Davis closed each event by introducing the new graduates, not as the individuals they had been when they arrived at Mason, but as the Class of 2016.
May 25, 2015