Friday, March 16: Today is one of my favorite days of the year: graduation. Graduation in our program actually lasts several weeks. This year our Singapore cohort finished first. Our Dean, Deputy Dean and I were there to celebrate with them. There was a champagne toast after class ended, followed by a formal ceremony since not everyone can fly to Chicago for graduation, and finally a grand party with food, music, videos made by the class, and much celebration. London's group finished next, and we once again attended to celebrate their achievement. Last class day in Chicago, a week ago, was marked by similar festivities.
During this past week, a few optional academic activities occurred. Our Global New Venture Challenge culminated in the contest yesterday. Winning teams have the option to continue in the school-wide New Venture Challenge this Spring. Some students opted to take extra classes, to earn a Concentration in an area of specific interest. Some took a tough Investments final exam this morning, hours before graduation!
Today, however, was the main event: graduation in Rockefeller Chapel. Over 200 of our roughly 265 students converged on Chicago, donned cap and gown, and received diplomas from our University President. There were trumpets, organ music and a choir. This was followed by a reception - one of the amazing things about our graduation is the families that fly to Chicago from all over the globe to watch a loved one become an alumnus of the University of Chicago. Finally, tomorrow night is the graduation ball, a formal event in Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
The students alumni have worked very hard for 21 months. There have been moments of sheer exhaustion, frustration, fear of failure . . . and of learning, sharpened thinking, new friends, and new ideas. Their families are proud of them, and so are we, as the staff and faculty of the program. It is simply wonderful to share a few days of formal and informal celebration as we have all done so much together.
Sunday it’s all over. But application deadline for the next cohort is April 1 . . .