UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Placing the Hood Just So

052610Feature2_CommencementCraig Eilbacher recalls being an undergraduate and seeing the doctoral students hooded during the robing ceremony. Their advisors would drape the hood over the scholar, welcoming him into the ranks of doctoral scholars.

He remembers thinking how special that must be.

“Now I know.”

Eilbacher was one of 53 doctoral candidates hooded during May Commencement. His dissertation committee chairs Dr. Jolene Henning and Dr. Kathleen Williams (Kinesiology) did the honors.

“Hooding a doctoral student is a wonderful occasion that symbolizes the culmination of years of hard work, research, and mentoring,” Henning says. She notes that she had already begun work and was unable to attend her own graduation at Ball State in 2002, which she regrets. “Every time I participate in a hooding ceremony it fills the void of not being able to experience my own graduation.”

Williams says UNCG’s robing ceremony is typical of most campus’. “It really is the culminating experience for candidates – it is so public. Defending the dissertation is really the academic culminating experience – and is probably more important for the faculty members. But this public ceremony really is the pinnacle for the candidate.”

She recalls her ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982. “I mostly determined that the mortarboard was for protection – from champagne corks.”

She has seen and been a part of many robings. And it doesn’t always go right. “I can’t count the number of mortarboards I’ve seen knocked off or at least askew. The other thing is a ‘backward hooding’ – the candidate might hand the hood to the adviser backwards – or, we just turn it around. … It gets put on back to front – or sideways! Of course, you can imagine what might happen with a very short adviser and a very tall candidate!”

But at May Commencement, all went perfectly.

Eilbacher is now Dr. Eilbacher. While pursuing his doctorate, he has been a visiting instructor and coordinator of sports medicine education in the Sport Studies Department at Guilford College. “The focus of my research was and continues to be improving the health care given to high school athletes,” he says.

Approximately 2,300 students participated in May Commencement.

Chancellor Linda P. Brady presided over the exercises in the Greensboro Coliseum. Highlights of the ceremony included the first graduates from UNCG’s Doctor of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics programs.

Life often holds mysteries more wonderful than our best-laid plans, novelist Margaret Maron told those graduating. Be ready for the unexpected and do what you love.

“Life does not come with a GPS,” Maron told the crowd, “so pack your bags, Class of 2010, and enjoy the trip!”

Maron, author of 26 mystery novels, quoted Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” as she spoke about the choices she made and the twists her life has taken. Frost’s poem ends with the classic lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I –/ I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.”

Maron attended UNCG (Woman’s College) but left after her sophomore year to take a summer job at the Pentagon. In Washington, she met her husband, who was, she said, “absolutely the right road for me to take.” He, by chance, wound up at the Pentagon because he was drafted by the Navy instead of the Army.

“Leave yourself open to serendipity,” Maron advised, “and always remember that money and things can be serious roadblocks. Things especially.”

She spoke about her choice to live frugally and stay at home to follow her passion, writing.

“If you think you have to have a big house, a new car, the latest electronic gizmo with all the apps, you may well find yourself stuck in a job you hate, unable to walk down a more interesting road because you can’t afford to leave the one you’re on,” she said. “If I could, I would make you all raise your right hands and solemnly swear to pay off your credit card every single month or make yourself do without all the toys. Debt is a road trap – a lot easier to get into than to get out of. It ties you down, limits your choices, and keeps you from exploring the roads up ahead.”

Applause erupted as Maron warned graduates against debt. “Those are your parents clapping!” she quipped.

David Klein, Class of 2010 student speaker, also spoke about the importance of loving what you do and doing what you love.

“No matter what field of study you decided to pursue UNCG has given you a head start towards your dreams,” he said. “My first-grade teacher said, ‘David, no matter what you decide to be in this world, be the best. If you want to be a teacher, be the best teacher to ever step foot in a classroom. If you want to be a singer, make your voice heard in every corner of the earth. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.’”

Visual: Dr. Craig Eilbacher is robed by Dr. Jolene Henning and Dr. Kathleen Williams (l-r).