University Park, IL,
22:41 PM

Ceremonial Hoods for 2019 Doctoral Candidates

In welcoming new members to the exclusive community of those who have earned the highest academic degree in the land, Governors State University “hooded”  58 doctoral candidates Thursday. The ritual, with its roots in Medieval Times, also reached far into the future—the year 2069, to be exact.

“The emphasis today is on the symbolism of investiture,” said President Elaine P. Maimon. In placing the hood—today represented by a velvet scarf — on their shoulders, she said, “We celebrate the tradition of mentors passing on to students the authority of knowledge.”

As GSU celebrates its 50th year, this year’s ceremony also points to the future, the president said. Noting the handful of babies among dozens of smiling family and friends on hand to celebrate the moment, she said, “I see in the audience some who will be here for our 100th anniversary.”

The evening ceremony at the Center for Performing Arts was a moment to honor tradition, with GSU faculty and top administrators in full academic regalia. The doctoral students received hoods they will wear Saturday at Commencement 2019, when their degrees will be conferred.

Dr. Maimon said Thursday’s celebration also had roots in Classical world, when Socrates walked in the agora, or public square, and taught students to be leaders in public life. Pointing out that GSU is also a public square, Dr. Maimon called upon doctoral recipients to “serve the public good, to make society better.”

“You have benefited from opportunities to improve yourselves,” she said. “Now it is your turn to reach out constructively to a world earnestly in need of your talents."

GSU doctoral degree recipients are well-placed to make a difference. Doctors of physical therapy and occupational therapy will help people heal, cope, and adapt. Doctors of nursing practice will provide treatments that improve healthcare outcomes and best practices in nursing education. Doctors of counselor education and supervision will use research-based interventions to improve mental health management and treatment of those they serve. And graduates of the Interdisciplinary Leadership Doctoral program are prepared to provide leadership to public and non-profit entities.

Among those eager to put their degrees to work is Khattab Iwainat, who said GSU faculty played a critical role in his quest for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. “Every class was geared toward both theory and application. The professors would share their own experience of more than 35 years in clinical practice, including patients they worked with,” he said.

“It really hit home.”

Working as a resident assistant for two years at Prairie Place gave him valuable insights beyond the classroom, he said. “I learned so much about diversity and got to understand my classmates’ struggles and values. That really enriched my experience at GSU.”

For Karina Corona, the idea of earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree took root as a teen-aged athlete when she experienced it firsthand. As the daughter of Spanish-speaking immigrants, she was often called upon to translate for them at the doctor’s office, sparking the desire to become a bilingual physical therapist.

Initially drawn to GSU for its affordability and its proximity to her home in Chicago Heights, she fell in love with its small classrooms. “People really know who you are,” she said.

Corona flourished by reaching out to others. She explained the career path of physical therapy to students at Bloom High School, her alma mater. And she created a brochure to help parents choose proper shoes for children who wear leg braces, translating it to Spanish as well. Corona also made time to serve as treasurer of GSU’s Physical Therapy Student Association.

With degree in hand, she will work for Med Therapy Services, a division of Franciscan Health, where she worked for five years while earning her doctorate. Corona, who received scholarship support for disadvantaged students through the College of Health and Human Services, said she was glad she had chosen GSU.

“You get the best education you can for the price.”