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Doctoral candidates celebrate with mentors, families and friends

Doctoral candidates line up in the hallway at Zoellner Arts Center before processing in for the traditional hooding ceremony.

Years of hard work, persistence and dedication culminated for 106 doctoral candidates at Sunday’s Doctoral Degree Hooding ceremony at Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall.

The candidates, receiving the highest academic degree granted, represented diverse disciplines from across all four of Lehigh’s academic colleges. Families, friends and loved ones were among those in attendance, offering the same support and encouragement they provided throughout the sometimes arduous task of completing a doctorate.

“As doctoral students, you have honed your world view and your sense of self and your role in the world,” Lehigh President Alice P. Gast told the students. “You have developed your values and your character, which will guide you throughout your life. I know that your strength of conviction and sense of right will serve you well in your life ahead.”

The ceremony is part of a distinct American academic system of gowns and hoods that was adopted in 1865. Patrick V. Farrell, Provost for Academic Affairs, said the hoods, which are presented by each candidate’s faculty advisor, are “symbolic of the work accomplished and the promise for future creative thought.”

Each candidate came to the center of the stage where their faculty advisors draped a colored hood over their heads, representing the specific fields of study chosen by the candidate. The hood’s velvet trim color represents the major field of knowledge and the lining of the hood represents the college or university where the degree was granted. Lehigh graduates will forever wear the Brown and White.

The ceremony also celebrates the bond between graduate student and advisor. Farrell said these faculty advisors demonstrated their commitment to “counsel, to listen, to read, to edit, to support, to coach, and most importantly to devote themselves to the creation of new knowledge with their advisee.”

Dissertation award winners recognized

Within each college, an Elizabeth V. Stout Dissertation Award, endowed by Robert D. Stout, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering in memorial to his wife, was bestowed on the doctoral dissertation judged to make unusually significant and original contributions to their field. The 2011 winners were:

College or Arts and Sciences: Marie Elizabeth Maradeo, molecular biology, for The Role of DNA Replication Factor C Complexes in Sister Chromatid Cohesion Establishment. Advisor: Robert V. Skibbens.

College of Business and Economics: David Noel van der Goes, economics, for Three Essays on the Vietnam War and the Draft. Advisors: Shin Yi-Chou and Stephen Snyder.

College of Education: Violet Aloo Kulo, educational technology, for Design, Development, and Formative Evaluation of a Gorgraphic Information System-Supported Science Web-Based Inquiry Module. Advisor: Ward M. Cates.

P.C. Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science: Qiaoquiang Gan, electrical engineering, for Surface Dispersion Engineering for Subwavelength Plasmonic Components on-a-Chip. Advisor: Filbert J. Bartoli.

In addition, Holly Marietta Kent, who earned her Ph.D. in history, was honored with the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Dissertation Award for All Reform Depends Upon You: Femininity, Authority, and the Politics of Authorship in Women’s Antislavery Fiction, 1821-1861. Her advisor was Monica Najar.

“As you know, by earning your doctoral degree you are embarking on another journey,” added Gast. “This journey will be greater and more challenging, and all the more fulfilling for what you have already achieved.”

The 106 doctoral candidates were among the 1,777 students graduating from Lehigh University at the 2011 Commencement exercises on May 23.

Photo by Douglas Benedict

Story by Tricia Long

Posted on Monday, May 23, 2011

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