Friday, May 12, 2017

Fabulous 2017 Graduate Commencement at UMass Amherst with My PhD Student Receiving Her Diploma

What a glorious time of the year this is with college graduations in the beautiful month of May!

Today the Graduate Commencement at UMass Amherst was held with more than 1,800 graduate degrees awarded to graduates from 60 different countries.

I had the pleasure of robing my 19th PhD student, Dr. Sara Saberi (my 20th, Shivani Shukla, had defended her doctoral dissertation just this past Wednesday, so it has been a thrilling week).  Dr. Saberi successfully defended her doctoral dissertation last August and marched in the procession today. She has completed her first year as an Assistant Professor at the Foisie School of Business at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. It is terrific to have her "close by."

Her husband, who also has a PhD, and is an expert in food science, graciously brought us bouquets of red roses.
The processional to the Mullins Center, where the awarding of degrees took place this morning, started a few minutes late - after 9:00AM, but it was worth it.
There was music and marvelous speeches by UMass President Marty Meehan and UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

First, the recipients of the Master's degrees received their degrees and then it was time for the PhD recipients. UMass Amherst started a very nice tradition a few years back of having the doctoral dissertation advisor "hood" the PhD recipient.

Sara and I had fun taking a selfie.
It was also very special that Dr. Tilman Wolf, who was the PI on the large Future Internet Architecture (FIA) NSF grant, that I was a Co-PI on, and which also supported Sara for two years, was recognized at the commencement with a Distinguished Mentorship Award!
A reception followed and it was wonderful to see the support from Sara, including from Shivani Shukla and one of my PhD students, Pritha Dutta.
At the reception, we had a chance to also chat with other colleagues from the Isenberg School of Management, as well as degree recipients, supporters, and family members.

Yesterday evening, the Isenberg School of Management held a special robing ceremony for our PhD recipients. The PhD program is under the directorship of Dr. George Milne. The Isenberg School presented the PhDs with the beautiful maroon and black robes that they got to wear this morning!

Each advisor was to speak no more than 3 minutes about his/her PhD recipient.

Sara was stuck on the Amtrak for an hour between Springfield and Northampton, traveling from New Jersey, and missed the event. I spoke about her many achievements as a doctoral student, including receiving the Isenberg School, Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher Award and the Isenberg Scholar Award, not just once, but twice.

The photo below was taken by one of my doctoral students, Deniz Besik. A big congratulations to such an outstanding cohort of Isenberg PhD recipients!

Sara now has 2 PhDs: one in Industrial Engineering, and the other one in Management, with a focus on Management Science! So she should be addressed as : Dr. Dr. Sara Saberi!