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The Newsletter of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies
April 2012

Greetings, graduate college community,

As I write this looking out across Heth Quad from Lucas Hall, spring flowers are virtually exploding from the ground, fruit trees are blooming in their most colorful glory, and it seems the grass turns greener and greener by the minute. This must mean that the semester is drawing closer to an end and that graduation plans are in the making for the several hundred candidates for hooding and degrees this spring. Among the unique (some might say anachronistic) traditions of the academy at American universities are the graduation ceremony and the academic regalia adorned during it. Radford University proudly upholds those traditions. But where do the traditions come from, and what do they mean? I responded to this last year and have been asked to do so again so our new graduates have a sense of these customs.

The cap, gown and hood trace their origins to the medieval fashion of the time when the institution of the university first began in Europe close to a thousand years ago. Over the years, these garments have evolved from the utilitarian clothing professors and students wore to keep warm to purely ceremonial garb with different colors and various styles, all representing some aspect of the degree attained. In general terms, the gown's style (length, sleeves, chevrons) depends on the level of academic attainment (bachelor's, master's, doctoral). The hood's colors are a combination of those representing the major field of study (business, social sciences, sciences, arts) and the colors of the school awarding the degree. The cap is generally the flat, four-cornered style with a tassel on top; however, doctoral degree holders may wear something akin to a beret with a tassel.

Regardless of the type and color of the cap and gown, the hooding ceremony has a deep significance within the academy. The ceremony has its roots in antiquity and represents the ascension of an individual through the ranks of the professional guild (apprentice, craftsman, journeyman, master, grand master).

When a candidate for graduation climbs the steps to the stage, his or her name is announced to the faculty and the audience for all to know that this person has achieved the honor of an advanced degree. The graduate then proceeds across the stage to be greeted by his or her mentor. The mentor, who has been that student's primary instructor while a graduate student, places the hood over the student's head and across the shoulders. The symbolic meaning of the hooding is the formal recognition that the person has evolved from student to member of the academic community. Once admitted to that station, the person is expected to uphold the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in that community.

Universities are interesting places indeed. They are full of very bright people who cherish the traditions of the academy developed over the centuries. Radford's graduate college community is committed to that end.

Congratulations to the graduate class of 2012!

Dennis Grady, Ph.D., Dean

Design thinking is not just for designers. No, not at all, said Holly Cline, the interim chair of Radford University's Department of Interior Design & Fashion (ID&F). "It's for anyone—executives, nurses, health care providers—anyone who wants to learn a different way of thinking toward solving problems." Read more.

ru programs align with 2012's top jobs
Of the 10 most promising careers of 2012, three are in health-related fields where Radford University recently added graduate programs. Read more.

education programs win approval
The Virginia Board of Education has granted "approved" status for all education programs at Radford University. Programs must be approved for the university to recommend their graduates for licensure. Read more.

ru wins big in design competition
Graphic design students from Radford University swept the 2012 Western Virginia ADDY Awards on March 10 in Roanoke, taking home more than 30 awards, including the Student Best of Show Award for the first time and two Judges' Choice Awards. Graduate student Derek Reynolds was among the winners. Read more.

ru honors its distinguished women
In observance of Women's History Month, posters on display across campus paid tribute to Radford University's distinguished women. Throughout March, RU women were recognized for their contributions to the university and their professional achievements. View the honorees from the weeks of March 12, March 19 and March 26.

favorite books come to life in ru reads campaign
In March Radford University launched RU READS, an initiative featuring dozens of colorful posters displayed across campus. Each poster portrayed a student, faculty or staff member in the context of her or his favorite book. Read more.

literacy professors launch column in global magazine
Jennifer Jones and Katie Hilden of the School of Teacher Education and Leadership pitched a column idea to the International Reading Association and are now writing for the organization's bimonthly magazine. Read more.

study rates business leaders in context of the economy
A leadership study of decision making that preceded the past decade's recession has produced useful results for Bruce Blaylock, professor of management in the College of Business and Economics. Read more.

professor takes leadership post with national organization
Professor James Werth, director of the Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program, has been appointed to a three-year term on a national committee of the American Psychological Association. Read more.

team presents co-teaching research at national forum
A faculty team from Radford University's School of Teacher Education and Leadership traveled in February to a national conference in Texas to present research that led to a new classroom model for children with special needs. Read more.

students present research at graduate forum
Capturing the attention of vice provosts, deans and administrators, four Radford University graduate students presented their research Feb. 16 at the Seventh Annual Graduate Student Research Forum in Charlottesville. Read more.

student artists honored at 2012 juried show
Twenty artists were recognized Feb. 16 at the opening of the 2012 Juried Student Show at the Radford University Art Museum Downtown. See the list of award winners on the College of Visual and Performing Arts website.

graduate photography exhibit opens may 9
The Radford University Graduate Photography Program is holding its inaugural photography exhibit May 9-31 in Gallery 205. Artists from Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have been invited to submit entries. Read more.

mfa artists exhibit works
Graduate students Anne Graham, Patricia Hunold, Nick Milinazzo, Jonathan Murrill and Sonja Novak exhibited their works March 30 April 15 at the Spring MFA Show. Each of the exhibiters will graduate this spring from the Master of Fine Arts program. The Graduate Art Student Association held its show Feb. 14 - March 2.

graduate students of the month
Each month, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies features on its website a graduate student of the month. Click the links below to read their Q&A interviews.

Contact Us

Lucas Hall
PO Box 6928
Radford, VA 24142
(540) 831-5431