I just got back from a hooding ceremony that I wouldn't normally attend. At Arizona, Linguistics is (I think rightly) housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, so normally I would participate only in SBS-related pomps and circumstances. This spring, however, a student from the Spanish and Portuguese department who had enrolled in a couple of my classes over the past few years asked me if I would be willing to come and hood him at the Humanities ceremony, for his Masters in Hispanic Linguistics. I was naturally honored to be asked, and happened to be available, so happily went, though not really looking forward to the long ceremony, the repeated clapping, the sitting and sitting...
But the Humanities ceremony wasn't as long as the SBS ceremonies that I have been to -- just about an hour and 20 minutes to hood 67 graduate students. And it's always fun to be around so many happy people, the students enjoying a proud moment in front of the friends and family, the advisors happy to be honoring the efforts of their students in pursuit of (in the case of many of the Humanities degrees) purely non-mercenary ideals of erudition, creation, beauty and/or truth. Hooray for societies that value such things.
Anyway, it was a happy moment; it's hard not to smile when you're around so many smiling people. Like watching people greet each other at the airport.
On the other hand, I'm on tap to stand up for the Linguistics department at the BIG commencement ceremony for the whole university on Saturday. THAT -- three+ hours in the seriously hot sun in black robes -- is an honor which we are happy to rotate through the faculty, once per year. Given the current size of our department, I won't have to do it again for 15+ years. By that time maybe they'll have put a dome on Wildcat Stadium.