From the Dean

April 2019

Dear Arts & Letters Community:

This week we celebrate the College of Arts & Letters Honors Convocation. At this event, we recognize undergraduate students who have maintained a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in the past two semesters and those graduate students who have a grade point average of 3.9 (Wow!) and are nearing completion of their master’s degrees. I and my colleagues will be wearing our “academic regalia,” the robes, hoods, and head coverings that signal academic achievement. 

Academic regalia is a kind of costume that honors the history of US higher education and contains symbols of where the wearer studied and their various academic degrees. The robes, hoods, and funny hats aren’t just about academic achievement, however; they are also about ritual. We don these robes as part of a ritual to recognize and honor the achievement of our students. The ritual has a structure and an order, as rituals tend to do. Rituals are important; they are how we sustain cultures and communities, including the academic community of which our students are all now part. My colleagues and I welcome our students into the academic community of scholars and artists at the annual Honors Convocation and subsequently at the Commencement in May at which degrees are conferred.

We will also be welcoming the family, friends, and supporters who have made our students’ education possible. I hope they will be pleased to learn that as students in the College of Arts & Letters, their student has chosen and excelled in a major course of study that prepares them very well for 21stcentury careers. So with their impending degrees from one of our nine departments: Art, Communication Studies, English, Liberal Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Philosophy, Theatre and Dance, or TV, Film, and Media Studies, our students will be prepared not only for their first job after college, but for their sixth, or tenth job after college. 

As the end of the semester nears, remember to nourish your mind, body, and spirit in the ways you find most useful; a healthy meal, a good night’s sleep, and a walk in the sunshine – in addition to studying -- are great preparation for final exams!

Happy April,
Dean Linda Essig