Earning a doctoral degree is a big achievement. To recognize and celebrate that achievement, Bellarmine started a new tradition this year: a hooding ceremony, held the night before Commencement. A total of 85 candidates for four advanced degrees—the Ph.D. in Education and Social Change, the Ph.D. in Higher Education, the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Physical Therapy—received their doctoral hoods from their mentors in Knights Hall on May 11.
For many, the hooding ceremony represents more than the culmination of graduate studies; it also symbolizes the transition from student to colleague in higher education and clinical services.
“My graduate work changed my life,” Dr. Susan M. Donovan told the doctoral candidates. “My mentor, my advisor, gave me the confidence not only for my first job or the many that followed but even for the job I am in today. She has long since passed away, but her faith in me continues to support me to this very moment. My mentor spoke frequently of a ‘lifenet’ of colleagues that would support me throughout my career. I hope you know that the Bellarmine ‘lifenet’ of alumni, faculty, staff and friends will always be here for you.”
The doctoral candidates received their actual degrees during Commencement the following day, along with undergraduate and master’s-level students. A total of 616 students graduated, with 620 degrees conferred (four undergraduates received two degrees each).The Commencement speaker was Susan Cameron ’87 MBA, former chair, president and CEO of Reynolds American Inc., who also received an honorary degree. Cameron, who shattered the corporate glass ceiling for women as one of the nation’s first major female CEOs, gave the graduates her Seven Secrets to Success, concluding with Get Your Priorities Right.
“Do you really want your epitaph to read ‘He was a great finance manager’? Or ‘She was a great structural engineer’? Do not spend 90 percent of your time or energy on people who’d replace you tomorrow morning if you left,” she said. “Save a good portion of your time and energy for those to whom you’ll always be irreplaceable—your good friends, your trusted colleagues and your family. Because it’s through them that you’ll gain immortality.”