May 2024

I don’t remember much about my graduation ceremonies, but I do remember how I felt once the tassel was actually turned. That emotional whirlwind of excitement, fear, anticipation, relief, sadness and happiness all rolled into a little ball in the pit of my stomach comes back whenever I am fortunate enough to attend the festivities. This year’s graduation at CEHD was no different. 

If you haven’t been on campus for Commencement recently, then allow me to give you a list of my favorite things about CEHD commencement, in no particular order: 

  1. Student teachers have the BEST stoles. Kudos to the person who started the signed stoles for the children to draw and sign so that they can be remembered as the beginning of a teacher’s career. 
  2. Doctoral hoodings are very emotional. There’s something incredibly special in the moment that the mentoring professor welcomes the newly minted doctor into the field.  
  3. Safety pins are your most valuable asset at a graduation, followed closely by a bobby pin. You have “saved the day” for a soon-to-be graduate if you have a few of these on-hand! It is a great feeling being able to help someone with something so small. 
  4. Students are welcomed to the alumni association on day one with an alumni pin. The alumni network is invaluable for future opportunities, as I know many of you can attest. 
  5. The joy in the audience is palpable. Parents, family members, spouses, children, friends are cheering and crying, and you can’t help but join along with them. 

Campus is now incredibly quiet, but on my walk to the office today, I saw a sliver of confetti that was still sparkling on the sidewalk, and I couldn’t help but smile. Congratulations to the class of 2024! 


Kirsten Halker-Kratz

Assistant Dean, Development and Alumni Relations