Grad Students Set Sail

Grad Students Set Sail

At the Graduate Hooding Ceremony in the First Baptist Church in America, 215 students earning master’s degrees celebrated years of hard work.

At Friday’s Graduate Hooding Ceremony in the First Baptist Church in America, 215 students earning master’s degrees celebrated years of hard work. Taking place the day before Commencement 2016’s main event in the Convention Center, the ceremony was intimate, casual and mercifully cool for a June afternoon.

President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID, Provost Pradeep Sharma and a cadre of deans took their seats to strains of David Bowie’s Space Oddity played on accordion. Somerson welcomed the large crowd and urged graduates to use their “mastery of the arts to create a more interesting, just and equitable world.”

“Don’t wait around for inspiration. The best ideas come out of the process, and one small idea leads to the next.”
RISD Provost Pradeep Sharma

Guest speaker Martha Rosler – the pioneering anti-war artist who earned an honorary degree at Commencement the following day – spoke about the “truly democratic” nature of art. “Art cannot be contained in the boxes toward which it is perpetually thrust,” she declared. She wrapped up her talk by counseling students to “infuse [their] work with revolution.”

After the speeches, each graduating student’s name was read and the graduate program directors who helped them find their way as artists and designers bestowed hoods, handshakes and hugs.

Sharma closed the ceremony with his usual flair, quoting artist Chuck Close and adding his own advice to students. “Don’t wait around for inspiration,” he said. “The best ideas come out of the process, and one small idea leads to the next.”

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