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Doctoral Hooding 2023: Celebrating highest academic achievement

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The hooding of doctoral candidates is a centuries-old tradition, where the pinnacle of educational achievement meets the finest academic regalia. Keeping with tradition, 46 Governors State University (GSU) doctoral candidates, newly adorned with velvet hoods, were welcomed into the doctoral community at the 2023 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony held at the Center for Performing Arts on May 11, 2023. 

Provost Beverly Schneller served as emcee and was excited to celebrate the candidates from the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Education.

“Our candidates are courageous. They knew that their doctoral programs would require intention, dedication, and perseverance to acquire and create new knowledge,” Provost Schneller said of the graduates. “Your achievements have made GSU proud.”

Also in attendance, seated alongside the candidates, were distinguished GSU faculty and university leaders, including the Chair of GSU’s Board of Trustees, Angela Sebastien and Student Trustee Lluvia Hernandez-Aguirre.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Sebastien thanked the candidates for choosing GSU and leading as examples to others who may choose GSU. 

“Please celebrate and acknowledge what you have accomplished. Acknowledge and celebrate that you followed your passion, you followed your curiosity. I also invite you to make change. You are the leaders now. Lead from where you are, and I hope each and everyone of you does just that.”

doctoralHooding23-126GSU President Cheryl Green expressed her pride and congratulations to this year’s doctoral class.

“Students, we join you today to acknowledge and celebrate your substantial accomplishments. You have reached an elite level, the highest level of student scholarship in your academic fields. And while you may always be learners, you will no longer be official students. You can applaud that. You have reached the mountain top. Look around and enjoy the view. You should be proud of yourselves. We certainly are proud of you.”

Green also expounded on the history of the hooding ceremony. “The hooding is an investiture, a ceremony that is part of an academic tradition that goes back centuries.”

The hooding of doctoral candidates has roots that date back to medieval times. Today, the hooding tradition celebrates academic achievement with each degree being represented by a special color lining in the velvet scarf, which at one point served to keep warm the shaven heads of monks.

One of the candidates, Michael Mahoney, who earned a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, was drawn to GSU for its reputation and highly regarded faculty.

doctoralHooding23-105“I knew that the Ph.D. program established at GSU was cutting edge,” he said. “When I became interested in pursuing a doctorate, GSU’s program was the only one in the Chicagoland area accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is the gold standard accrediting body in counselor education.”

Mahoney went on to share that the accreditation ensures students of the program’s quality and that CACREP-accredited degrees can open doors to many professional opportunities. For Mahoney, the possibilities are endless as to what he can pursue in mental health counseling, education, and leadership, and he looks forward to exploring the path that most appeals to him.

Another candidate, Kiya Raines who earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy, was equally impressed by the programs at GSU. She feels confident she made the best choice for herselfdoctoralHooding23-040 when she chose GSU.

“It took me three years to get in, but I made it. The professors are very invested in helping you succeed. Anytime I needed a mini study session, they were available,” said Raines

With her doctorate, Raines plans to practice locally and continue to inspire others in black and brown communities to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Also earning her Doctor of Physical Therapy, TaShea’ Moore credited GSU for its diversity, citing it as a key factor in her decision to enroll.

doctoralHooding23-053“I interviewed at a lot of schools, but everything I attended at GSU, including the open house, made me feel like people were talking to me as a person, and I was not just candidate number 50.”

As she pursues her passion in practicing physical therapy, Moore is excited to work with patients and future physical therapists, and to represent the profession in underrepresented communities.

Provost Schneller’s presentation of the entire 2023 Doctoral Class was met with a standing ovation from the crowd and GSU faculty in attendance.

Click here to view the entire 2023 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.