Today I reached a major milestone, I graduated from Vanderbilt University receiving my Masters of Public Health degree.
The MPH degree program at Vanderbilt is fairly unique as it caters more to current Vanderbilt physicians — enrollment does not generally include outsiders. I, as an information professional at the Vanderbilt Eskind Biomedical Library, was the only member of my class that does not hold an MD degree. I was fortunate enough to be able to have this opportunity due to my supervisor at work, who also served as my research mentor through the degree program. As a student, I am sponsored by the Department of Biomedical Informatics via the National Library of Medicine (this is the 2nd time I have been an NLM fellow).
Today, I participated in the Vanderbilt Commencement; my degree was conferred as part of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The graduation ceremony was a two-part affair; the main commencement occurred on Alumni Lawn for all degree candidates. Then, before they began announcing the undergraduates, the graduate schools all recessed for separate ceremonies.
9am: As I mentioned, I was part of the School of Medicine, so we lined up to prepare for procession behind the Sarrat Center. Here is a photo as two members of the MD class stood next to the banner to lead us on the lawn.
The view from our seats in the lawn was absolutely gorgeous! We were fortunate to be able to be outside as later in the afternoon we had thunderstorms. On the stage, you see the banners for all the schools of the university and each color represents a discipline. As you see, Medicine is green.
I was tweeting & posting updates to Facebook throughout the event and got a bit too quick on the keyboard during the official conferring of degrees. The Chancellor acknowledged each class separately so I thought that was the official moment of conferment after he addressed the School of Medicine group, but then after going through each school, he asked us all to stand for the words that specifically confer the degree.
10:30am: After the main ceremony, the graduate schools recessed and went to our separate ceremonies. Off to Langford Auditorium I went to get ready. But, I stopped at the library and had a few pictures taken 🙂 I don’t know what was up with the face Kaleya was making!
11:15 am: The School of Medicine ceremony began at about 11:15 am. I did not take any pictures of the ceremony proper, just a few of students as we waited around for the processional into the auditorium. During the ceremony, 81 degrees were conferred to non-MD students (this included Doctor of Audiology, Master of Education for the Deaf, Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, Master of Laboratory Investigation, and Master of Medical Physics). There were 160 graduates receiving their Doctor of Medicine degrees; the largest class in the history of the School of Medicine. The ceremony was lovely and it was especially endearing to see family members of graduates present the degrees to their graduating student.
I was quite happy to receive my diploma in hand!
2:30pm: Following the ceremonies, the School of Medicine provided a nice lunch to graduates, family & friends, and after that I attended the MPH graduates reception. There were 15 members in my class that graduated. At the reception, the MPH program gave us all Vanderbilt MPH clocks and the book, The Ghost Map, which recounts the tale of the 1854 London cholera epidemic as figured out by John Snow, one of the founders of epidemiology. This was great b/c from Day 1 of the program we discuss John Snow’s work! I’d wanted to read the book since I began the program in August 2008, but I sure did not have time. I guess they figure now that we’re done, we have time :-). I plan on reading it this summer.
At the end of the day I was utterly exhausted! It’s been a great day though. As far as what’ s next, I’ll be re-entering my library again as a full-time staff member July 1 as part of our Knowledge Management group and will be tasked with assisting in our research and ongoing knowledge management efforts. I will definitely have opportunities to use the information I’ve learned during the program and of course, continue to expand upon them.
Ta ta for now! To see all my photos, please visit my Photo Album.
Update: to see pictures from my past graduations, see my genealogy blog.