To the Sound of Bagpipes and Drums...
...Lizzy and I processed into the Spokane Arena this morning, with 950 of our classmates (yeah, that was a lot of hands for Fr. Spitzer to shake). Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees were given to five people--Archbishop Brunett of Seattle, Fr. Patrick Twohy, S.J. (for his inspiring service to the Native American communities of Eastern Washington and Idaho), and three other folks for services rendered to the university (primarily monetary, I believe). Fr. Twohy gave a speech, which contained several interesting stories but the point of which I was never able to make out, and the president of the student body association gave a speech, and Fr. Spitzer gave a speech, and Archbishop Brunett gave the opening and closing "invocations", which I guess is the new fancy term for prayers.
Of these, Fr. Spitzer's speech was by far the best, in terms of cohesiveness, organization, and content...but it was an awful lot like one we've heard him give before. We think that's ok, though; if you give really excellent, impassioned speeches, it's probably all right if you've only got about five speeches that you rotate through depending on the occasion. Fr. Spitzer speeches have a lot of content, too, so it's ok to hear them more than once, like reading a good book more than once--you catch things you didn't catch last time.
For the tat-minded among you, there were of course lots of impressive academic robes--I particularly enjoyed seeing one fellow wearing Stanford's red and blue doctoral robes, which are quite different in style from the typical academic regalia, and Fr. Mossi's Doctor of Theology red velvet--and Archbishop Brunett was smartly attired in his appropriate academic attire, sans biretta but including the ferraiolo, which I'd never seen in person before. (See this page for some pictures of the ferraiolo and clerics in abito piano--academic attire.)
We didn't get our actual degrees today. Those come in the mail later. Today we got nice leather covers for the degrees, which contain what amounts to an ad for the alumni association ("In case the $100k you just forked over wasn't enough, send a check to the Alumni Association!"). The walk across the stage is a bit of a blur, since, there being 952 of us, we had to move along pretty quickly. We're very proud that neither of us (both tend to be a little clumsy) tripped or fell or otherwise embarassed ourselves. We had lunch with our families afterwards at the local Irish pub which had been our hangout sophomore year. A lovely, but very tiring day.