Alice’s Graduation, as recounted by Cathy Verts:
Our friend Alice graduated from U. Mass. this May with a degree in Geology. Alas, she was not able to have a proper graduation ceremony, so her sibling, Aerin, decided to organize a small ceremony in the backyard today at 1:00 pm. The three of us Vertses grabbed various robes, ceremonial accoutrements, and masks and drove over to Northampton. Bill brought a speech he wrote before he got up this morning.
Upon arrival, Bill dressed up in full academic regalia, RJ put on high school robes, including a mortarboard trimmed with dangling wooden mammoths, and I declared that I was an Audience, so I didn’t have to get dressed up.
Someone went upstairs and woke up Alice, the star of the show. Al and Aerin put on their academic robes and shoved some robes at Alice. Al added a speaker on his chest so that he could play “Pomp and Circumstance” as he walked.
Bill, Al, RJ, Aerin, and Alice lined up and processed around the backyard, while the Audience, Jared, and Lee applauded. Bill, as the only honest-to-gosh U. Mass. faculty member around handled the graduation speech. I include the exact speech in total (Bill read the numbers, too):
1. Thank you to Irrelevant Authorities
2. Welcoming Remarks
3. Stupid Joke (wait for laughter to die down)
4. Introduction of Other Irrelevant Authorities
5. Generic Congratulatory Remarks
6. Comment About Weather
7. Reference to Special Nature of Current Class
8. Thanking of Faculty
9. Thanking of Parents
10. Personal Amusing Anecdote
11. Obligatory Reference to Antonio’s Pizza
12. Long-winded and Boring Tale of Self-Sacrifice that Nobody is
13. Homily about Doing Well in the World
14. Welcome to Ranks of UMass Family
15. Reference to Alumni Association and Donations
16. Will Graduates Please Stand
17. Conferring of Degree
At this point the graduate’s mother, Lee, handed Alice her degree which had been mailed to Alice. We all cheered.
18. Singing of Fight Song (nobody knows words)
19. Go UMass!
20. Under Your Seats you will Find a Pin
At this point, Bill tossed the U. Mass. pin at Alice (social distancing) and she picked it up off of the ground.
21. Please Stay in your Seats while Platform Party Exits (ignored)
22. Random Milling About
We milled around. Lee asked Alice if she felt any different after our ceremony and Alice said, “Yes, the diploma feels more real.” We sat in the shade, wearing our masks, and visited. Chris showed up fashionably late, but brought Lindor Truffles, so we forgave her. A good afternoon.