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Thursday, 16 November 2006
 
 
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Graduations Galore

 
 
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The year 2008 saw the graduation from college of Susannah & Amit.

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Susannah Joseph

Susannah graduated from Virgina Commonwealth University (VCU) with two diplomas - one in Business(Real Estate) and the other in Humanities (Religious Studies). The graduation on May 17th was in Richmond, VA which is about a 2 hour drive from where Peter & family live in northern Virginia. She and Emmy attend school at VCU which, from the latest accounts, has the largest student body in the state.

Image Richmond certainly projects being one of the older cities in Virginia with its numerous narrow and treelined streets as well as older looking buildings. In some ways the university to city relationship reminds one of the temple cities of India where the city is built out in concentric circles with the temple as the center, though this maybe a narrow viewpoint of the city since there are historical buildings all around, such as the Virginia Capitol building and the Richmond city townhall. After all, it was Thomas Jefferson who moved the capital from Williamsburg to Richmond and was intimately involved in the design of many of the government buildings.

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College graduations here are marked typically by two ceremonies. The main one, or commencement, and the second one which is when the diploma is actually awarded, held by the various schools. Given that Susannah received two diplomas, one in Business and the other in Humanities she had to choose through which school she wanted her diplomas awarded to her and chose the Business school. It was an interesting and fun time for every one especially since she was surrounded by many of her friends who hung out with the family until evening keeping them entertained . She intends to work or find "gainful" employment, at least until she decides to go for further studies. And so the fun begins.

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Image Image Peter, Shiny, Sarah, Emmy and, of course, Susannah had a celebration dinner at a Thai restaurant and left the next morning back to Sterling.

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Amit Joseph

Amit graduated summa cum laude, from the George Washington University (GWU), in Washington DC with a BA in Biology. He is at GWU in the 7 year BA/MD program which entails completing a BA degree in three years and then enrolling at GWU medical school for four years.

Image The graduation ceremonies involved three events. Rana & Mini together with Mukul, Saira, Richard and DJ were present to participate in Amit's special day.

On the morning of May 17th, we attended a ceremony in which Amit was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa - the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. There were approximately 60 students inducted out of a graduating student body of approximately 5,000. For those not familiar with Phi Beta Kappa check out this link and a lot more information appears in Wikipedia.

Following the induction, there was a reception and then the family members proceeded to a lunch at Washington Harbor - at a restaurant which Amit chose as being his preference. He said that it was a restaurant he could not afford as a student but since his parents were paying for it, the choice was easy! The setting was beautiful and the weather was great.

Image In the afternoon, there was a graduation ceremony for the students of the Columbia College of Arts and Sciences - one of GWU's several colleges. It was at this event that Amit was awarded his degree. It was a very well attended event since there are several thousand students who graduated and each student was allowed to bring up to six family members/friends.

Image The main ceremony on Sunday, May 18 - the commencement - attended by all graduating students from the different colleges that comprise GWU was held on the mall in Washington DC. The mall is the name used for the large park-like area where many of the famous monuments one associates with Washington DC, etc are located. We were told that GWU was the only university in the country that was allowed to hold its commencement/graduation ceremonies at the mall.

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Image The setting was nothing short of spectacular with a perfect view of the Capitol located behind the dais where the speakers and other officials were seated. The only negative was that towards the latter part of the ceremony, there was a light drizzle. There must have been over 25,000 attendees at this event. There were several very large screen televisions to enable attendees seated some way from the dais to view the proceedings. The graduates - approximately 7000 of them - entered in a procession to the sound of bag-pipes and took their seats.

The commencement speaker was Julian Bond, a prominent leader in the civil rights movement who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in days gone by. He gave an inspirational speech - one of the better ones that we have heard at such commencement ceremonies. He mentioned that his grandfather was a slave and emphasized the role education had played in the lives of his family. His final adomnition to the students was that every person can make a difference in improving society and the world we live in.

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Image It was a busy weekend what with all of the graduation ceremonies - and then on Sunday evening there was a bar-b-que for just family members to celebrate both Amit's graduation as well as a belated birthday bash for Mini. Attending were Mukul, Saira, Richard and DJ, Peter, Shiny, Sarah and Emmy, Ashok - Alex's son - with his wife, Tara and Stephanie - Richard's sister - with her husband Jeff and daughter Hannah.

Amit will, in August 2008, commence studying medicine at GWU Medical School.



 
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