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Doctoral hooding ceremony celebrates 'future leaders'

Dean S. David Wu, right, embraces Mehmet Oguz Atan, who earned his Ph.D. in industrial engineering. Wu served as Atan's faculty advisor.

The 96 graduate students who successfully completed their doctoral degrees at Lehigh University this year “represent our future leaders,” Provost Patrick V. Farrell said during Sunday’s traditional hooding ceremony.

The doctoral hooding ceremony, which has its roots in medieval times but has evolved into what Farrell called “a distinctly American tradition,” celebrates the accomplishments of those who have attained the highest academic distinction in their fields, as well as the special relationship that exists between doctoral student and faculty advisor.

Held in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall, which was packed with spouses and children, family members, friends, faculty and staff, the ceremony honored the years of hard work put in by the doctoral students, as well as the support and sacrifice of those who nurtured them through the arduous process.

“This day represents the completion of multiple journeys in your lives, as well as the beginning of many new paths,” President Alice P. Gast said. “As a student and as a researcher, you have learned to pose questions and seek the answers. You understand that research is, by its very nature, learning, creating and discovering.

“By obtaining your doctoral degree, you have established yourself as an expert in your field,” she said. “You have proven your ability to solve complex problems, both individually and in collaboration with others.”

One by one, candidates were called to center stage, where their faculty advisors joined them to drape a colored hood over their heads representing the specific fields of study chosen by the candidates—golden yellow for science, dark blue for philosophy, orange for engineering, light blue for education, copper for economics, and pink for music, to name a few.

The hooding was invariably followed by a warm embrace or handshake. Farrell urged doctoral students to remain in touch with their Lehigh faculty advisors throughout their lives and careers.

Doctoral degrees were awarded by the deans of each of Lehigh’s four colleges: Anne Meltzer, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Paul R. Brown, dean of the College of Business and Economics; Gary M. Sasso, dean of the College of Education; and S. David Wu, dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Within each college, an Elizabeth V. Stout Dissertation Award, endowed by Robert D. Stout, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering, was bestowed on the doctoral dissertation judged to make unusually significant and original contributions to their field. The 2010 winners were:

  • Liangcheng Zhou, physics, for Study of UV Surface Plasmons on Metallic Nanostructures and its Applications to Nanophotonics. Advisor: Volkmar R. Dierolf.
  • Tsung-Yi Wang, economics, for The Impact of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery Report Cards in Pennsylvania. Advisor: Shin-Yi Chou.
  • Jack P. Silva, educational leadership, for The Direct Effects of Principal-Student Discussions Upon Eighth Grade Students’ Gains in Reading Achievement: An Experimental Study. Advisors: George P. White and Roland K. Yoshida.
  • Burak Bekisli, mechanical engineering, for Analysis of Knitted Fabric Reinforced Flexible Composites and Applications in Thermoforming. Advisor: Herman F. Nied.

In addition, Anthony James Lewis Funari, who earned his Ph.D. in English, was honored with the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Award for Challenging the Scientific Mind: The Poetic Resistance to Bacon’s Grand Instauration. His advisor was Scott P. Gordon.

“Wherever your future journey takes you, I ask you not to forget your journey through Lehigh,” Gast said. “Remember that you will always be part of the Lehigh community. And I know that you will go into the world as wonderful ambassadors for our graduate programs.

“I hope that you continue to experience the joys of pursuing knowledge, pushing yourselves to new heights and collaborating with others who journey with you.”

Photos by Theo Anderson

Story by Jack Croft

Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010

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