Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shoes made for walking

Black flats and bike
From where I sit, graduation is all about the shoes. My shoes. The students' shoes.

It makes sense, this event is about walking.  We ask students "are you walking?" meaning, are you planning on coming to graduation? The faculty walk in.  The students walk across the stage, then off to other adventures.

I'm usually in one of the first couple of rows on the floor of the tent, so the student's feet are more or less at my eye level, and given that they are all in identical black robes, what tends to catch my eye first is their shoes.  Practical black Chucks (after the rain we had yesterday, a solid choice); sky high red stilletos (awarded "most stunning" by my row of faculty); classic black pumps; bright sneakers with a sari — and one pair of bare feet.

It's about my shoes, too.  I dress up for this culminating event, and dressing up means dressy shoes, but I walked 4 miles on campus today (I wore a calibrated pedometer), so it also means comfortable shoes. Given the mud, I wore black flats good enough to count as dressy, but not so good that I would be distressed if they were ruined (I speak from experience, I sacrificed a pair of black pumps to a commencement I was leading a few years back). And of course, I need a pair I can bike in.  If you don't have to drive to a commencement, don't.

That's me with the new William Kennan Professor of Mathematics, better known on this blog as Math Man.  I've already swapped my regalia out for a haori from Kyoto...


  1. I love that photo! So wonderful. Sounds like a rich, full, day.

  2. What a beautiful photo - both of you have such happy smiles! Congrats to Math Man.

  3. Mmmm. Lovely photo. Would have been marvelous to see you both in your regalia, too!

    Heh heh heh. I walked -- graduated -- in bare feet, too. Grounding to Mother Earth, and gratitude to Her, too. It had been a long road...