University Park, IL,
14:02 PM

2018 Doctoral Hooding, an Investiture

In the ceremonial act of “hooding,” established scholars welcome new members into the exclusive doctoral community that has its origins in Medieval Times. The hood, today an elegant scarf of velvet, once was used to keep warm the shaven heads of Monks.

“This is an act of investiture,” Governors State University President Elaine P. Maimon told doctoral candidates gathered Thursday for the 2018 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on the stage of the Center for Performing Arts. Candidates will participate in Saturday’s full commencement with doctoral hoods already in place.

“The key to the ceremony today is the placing of the hood on your shoulders,” President Maimon said. “We, as holders of advanced degrees, invest in you the academic authority that we hold. By doing so, we celebrate the tradition of mentors passing on to students the authority of knowledge.”

Alongside the candidates were distinguished GSU faculty and university leaders present in full scholarly regalia to mark a milestone in the lives of the new scholars. President Maimon said the ceremony also serves as a reminder the university’s roots.

“GSU’s tradition goes back to the Classical world itself, when Socrates walked in the agora – the public square – and taught students to be leaders in public life. GSU is not a cloister but an agora, a public square. We expect you to use your educational attainment, not solely for your own advancement. We expect you to make society better.”

Indeed, each candidate, regardless of discipline, had studied and researched to create new scholarship to enlighten minds, improve lives, and, ultimately, make society better.

“I want to create resources in economic and social justice, particularly around LGBT and racial issues,” said Reiko Miyakuni, who will receive an Ed.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision  in the College of Education.

A native of Japan, Miyakuni has a background in psychology with an emphasis in working with children. “At GSU, one of the biggest draws was working with Dr. Cate Sori and Dr. Julie Yang on social and economic justice. It was perfect for me.”

Sharing the stage with Miyakuni, as well as her passion for helping people, was fellow candidate Robert Clay, GSU’s Interim Director of Student Life and Director of Intercultural Affairs.

Clay will receive his Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership with the goal to help students, particularly black males, fully engage in college student experiences.

“I desire to be a senior Student Affairs officer to ensure all students have the experiences they need to succeed, to graduate.” That desire drove Clay to create GSU’s Male Success Initiative (MSI), an enrichment program for male students, particularly men of color, that provides professional, academic, and personal development. MSI helps participants develop a game plan for success from orientation to graduation.

Making lives better goes right to the mission of GSU’s College of Health and Human Services, where Thursday’s emcee Elizabeth “Beth” Cada served as dean for many years. Cada, now Interim Provost, underscored CHHS’s commitment to the health and well-being of people in the region.

“Candidates, I can only imagine where your road will take you, and the many lives you will touch, change, and improve,” Cada said.

She paused the ceremony to honor a fellow faculty member Cyrus Marcellus Ellis and doctoral student Shalon McCray, both of whom died in the last year.

“You may have noticed, we have one empty chair with the doctoral hood and doctoral tam. Dr. Ellis was a dedicated faculty member in Counseling for over 15 years. He helped create the doctoral program in Counselor Education and Supervision and was the doctoral coordinator for several years,” Cada said.

Ellis, like so many GSU faculty, inspired students through his guided by his mentoring, scholarship, and love for teaching.

Doctoral candidate Jason Berlongieri said Professors Dr. David Diers and Dr. Dale Schuit played a critical role in his quest for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. “Every time I was in an orthopedic rotation during my internship, I utilized things they taught me.”

Berlongieri’s drive to heal was inspired when his father, a mechanic, was pinned under a car. His vertebrae were shattered in the accident, and young Berlongieri grew up watching his father battling constant pain. “My drive comes from living with him and knowing what it’s like to have that constant struggle,” he said. “I just want to see if I can make a change in anyone’s life for the better.”

After graduation, Berlongieri is headed to Nova Southeastern University in Florida, where he will participate as one of just two fellowship recipients in a one-year residency program in neurological physical therapy that will prepare him for one last exam to become a neurological certified specialist.

Also graduating from CHHS, Folasade Adekoya studied in CHHS. Adekoya is a candidate for a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and already works in the nursing field. She has a passion to help those coming behind her. “I hope to continue the professional development of new leaders in the field of nursing practice, and improve the landscape.”

At the end of the ceremony, the newly hooded scholars received a standing ovation from proud family, friends, and supporters, and then ceremoniously filed out to Boston Pops Orchestra French Military March (Algerian Suite).

President Maimon’s earlier words, no doubt, were still resonating in their hearts and minds:

“Make us proud. Make us better. Make a difference.”