Graduation day

At the University of Chicago, Ph.D.s get their degrees a day before undergraduates, and each division has its own graduation ceremony (ours is the Division of Biological Sciences, which includes the medical students).  Since my student Daniel graduated today, I went to the ceremony to “hood” him.  I’m not sure how cosmopolitan this ceremony is, but in the U.S. one’s advisor puts the “hood,” a cloth mantle, over the student’s cap and gown. It’s at that moment that the student magically attains the doctorate. (Daniel’s hood is in blue below.)

It was a touching event; how can one not feel good at the sight of so many young people officially completing the tortuous road to an M.D. or Ph.D.?  And how can one not ponder the wingéd chariot of time as a bunch of old scholars literally transfer their mantle to the next generation?

But enough of this musing.  Here I am with the newly-coined Dr. Matute, resplendent in our academic regalia.  My own, kindly loaned by Dr. Neil Shubin, is the Harvard “crimson” robe (everyone told me it looked PINK), while Daniel is in Chicago maroon.

Kudos to Daniel, and may I take paternal pride in adding that he won the award for the best doctoral thesis in the entire Division of Biological Sciences (he’s holding his certificate).

UPDATE:  My friend Carolyn Johnson sent me some photos she took of the hooding.  Here’s the very moment that Daniel became Dr. Daniel:

And, a happy Ph.D. with his certificate and cash award:


  1. Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Awwww, pretty in pink.

  2. ritebrother
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to both of you!

  3. Marta
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that’s interesting. To these ceremonies, the advisor wears the graduation robes of his or her own alma mater, not those of the University where he or she works?

    • Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you’re supposed to wear the regalia of your alma mater, and some of the European robes are wild (one of my Spanish colleagues has an ERMINE hood). If you’re too cheap to have bought one when you got your Ph.D. (which I was), the U of C will lend faculty a U of C robe for free. But fortunately Shubin, whose office is in the next building, offered to loan me his spiffy Harvard robe.

      • Marta
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Boy, I bet now you’re really glad you chose Harvard over, say, the University of Phoenix.

      • Dominic
        Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        The University of London ‘Arts’ faculty gown – a disgusting poo brown! At least the crimson matches your red drosophila eyes. I mean the eyes of your flies, not JC’s eyes!

        • Dominic
          Posted June 11, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          The Pope loves ermine (or miniver as it is called) but then all those priests like to dress up to go out –

          In Britain it is reserved for lords, though they generally have rabbit fur instead these days, stoats being rare & hardly ever white in this bloody country.

  4. Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink


    Congrats, Doc!

    You too, Doc!


  5. Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Felicidades Dr. Matute, los latinoamericanos estamos muy orgullosos de usted y estaremos atentos de su exitosa carrera profesional.



  6. AT
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    You guys look cool and happy!

    I wish you long and healthy life so you and your students can keep on the great service to science and humanity at large!


  7. mordacious1
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I sometimes wish that I had obtained my Doctorate back when I had the energy to jump through all the hoops that are required. Alas, I don’t think it’s going to happen, although a friend of mine got his PhD in History at the age of 85, so who knows. Or I could get one from the Patriot Bible University, like our friend Kent…no effort there. Their robes are probably brown though…

    Congratulations to Daniel (er, Doctor Matute) for doing all the hard work it takes to get a real degree.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      In my undergraduate physics class of 1980 there were 120 students. Of whom just three were female. Two normal 18-year old girls.

      And one lady in her mid 60’s going back to school after retiring.

      It’s never too late.

  8. Moewicus
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there’s any simple way to get rid of the timestamp: it is now part of the image itself. Maybe a reader who is good at photoshop will volunteer to paint over it. It looks like it can be removed by a careful hand without much disruption to the overall picture.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I meant FUTURE pictures. How can I turn this feature off?

      • AT
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        I tried to find user guide for your camera but could not: panasonic does not have it on their site

        But on the FAQ they advise to look for “time Stamp” feature of your camera – if you have paper copy of the user guide look it up in the index

      • JBlilie
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Photoshop is totally slick with this and can even “heal” the same thing on multiple images (as long as the date is the same).

        Malheureusement, I do not know that camera!

        I’m looking up the IFU on the web right now though … (I’m a lens-head.)

        And: Hearty congratulations to Dr. Matute!!!

      • Jack van Beverningk
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        TZ18 = S8

        • Jack van Beverningk
          Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          .. and if that doesn’t work, maybe we can all pray for it to go away. I heard that works for almost everything!

  9. Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink


    Press the Playback mode button (looks like the traditional arrow “Play” button) and then press Menu. Date stamp options are in there.

    • Posted June 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      If you turn off the date stamp you’ll have to hold a daily newspaper in every photo. It’s the rule.

  10. JBlilie
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I think an email to the PANASONIC support site is the best bet.

    I could not find anything on their “basic” manual which can be downloaded online. Your “real” manual is apparently on SW that came with the camera. Maybe open that up and search for “date.”

  11. Curt Cameron
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    What about taking the picture a little larger than you want and just cropping it off so that it doesn’t include the date?

    Probably more of an interim solution.

  12. Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Dr. Matute, and for the award, too! Impressive!

    My own, kindly loaned by Dr. Neil Shubin, is the Harvard “crimson” robe (everyone told me it looked PINK)

    It sure does. Did he leave it out in the sun for, like, a couple of weeks?

    • Grania
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny how it looks crimson in the bottom photo, but Barbie Doll Pink (™) in the outdoors light.

      Congratulations to Dr Matute!

      • Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        The word you’re looking for is, “metamerism.”

        There’s also some overall color balance differences between the photos, but not enough to explain the shift in Jerry’s robes.

        I’d be interesting to measure the fabric with a spectrophotometer….



      • Marta
        Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been reading some of the dispatches from the conference in Dublin. Of the conferences I read about, that’s one I’m sorry to have missed (well, that, and the upcoming TAM in Las Vegas.) Had no idea you were such an integral part. Well done, Miss!

  13. Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Dude, you’re magic! You put the hat on the guy and presto, he’s a PhD.

  14. Scott near Berkeley
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the “crimson robe” has evolved, much like that moth in England that changed to near-black because the trees were covered in industrial soot??

    Now it appears to be pink, though it is unclear how that adaption will benefit you.

    Evolutionary dead end??

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Just thunk of why this “pink outfit” is a superior evolutionary adaption:

      In a crowded, disease-infested world, fewer random strangers will get close enough to transfer decimating viruses.

  15. Sili
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The cowboyboots certainly look a lot less silly now.

    Even our royalty rarely dresses up like that anymore.

    • Sili
      Posted June 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      But congrats!

  16. Hempenstein
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, congratulations on all accounts, Daniel!

    Meanwhile, the pink issue can probably be fixed with the red balance in Photoshop or equivalent.

  17. Posted June 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Level Up!

    Congratulations Dr Matute.

  18. George
    Posted June 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Chicago Maroon is much more appealing than Harvard Crimson. Are you sure Shubin was not just trying to get you to wear something hideous?

    Actually, only BSD and SSA did their hooding today. Everyone else is doing it tomorrow after the Convocation. And BSD is not actually handing out its diplomas until tomorrow.

  19. Posted June 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Omedetou, Daniel-san! Congratulations to you both:-)) Very spiffy, there, indeed!

  20. vHF
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Ah, Americans. Trying so hard to have robes and hats and traditions and stuff, and yet they hold the celebrations in a tent 🙂

  21. Dominic
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Well done Daniel. Will you be taking over at WEIT as well?!

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