This past weekend, my wife and I traveled out to Dickenson College in Carlisle, PA for my sister-in-law Marissa's commencement ceremony, and it had to be one of the worst graduation ceremonies I've ever seen:
- The held it outdoors, despite a forecast of heavy rain (which we were told is a Dickenson tradition, which the college's president decided to stick with despite the complaints from the students). It was a lawsuit waiting to happen with all the cables for audio and video running around and the number of grandparents who were there for the “festivities”. At least they had TVs with the ceremony on them in most of the buildings, but even that was kinda slapdash as there was nowhere enough room for those seeking refuge from the weather.
- Nobody seemed to know what was going on. There were no proper introductions. People just stepped up to the podium and started talking. Even when they went through the graduates names, they then had them walk down some steps (wet ones) and into a mob of people. Yea…lots of great photo ops.
- They gave away three honorary degrees to people already holding advanced degrees in their fields. This from a college who offers no post-graduate educational opportunities. Brilliant.
- They invited a philosopher to give the commencement address. Nobody knew he was going to talk until he started either. His speech was slow and incoherent, but somehow he drew the conclusion that every time the amount of information humans have surmised doubles, that means all the people alive then become twice as smart. Not that you need to apply knowledge or anything like that…probably because he's never had to apply any.
- When handing out diplomas, all students who had relatives or close friends who were Dickenson alumni in attendance had their degrees given to them “with the help” of that person. I've never seen a school do this before, but I guess it's cool to be part of the clique. I mean, only me, my dad, and my uncle could have helped give my brother his degree when he graduated from Hiram.
- Despite braving the weather, all student speeches were cut from the program. Honestly, the whole thing wasn't about them anyway, so that seemed appropriate.
- Finally, for the student's final meal on campus, a family brunch, they served chicken fingers, quiche, and hash browns. Talk about going the extra mile.
The whole event was simply a display of aggrandized self-importance by the college, and they failed miserably. They may be a good school, but they are not the elite school they seem to believe and act like they are. I'm proud of Marissa for graduating, and know that she has a lot of opportunities ahead of her, but her school put together one of the most miserable “significant events” that most of those graduates will have to remember.
So queue Comic Book Guy:
Worst. Graduation. Ever.