Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Graduate School News and Events

Two Days of Ceremonies and Celebrations
to Mark Commencement 2012

The Graduate School’s Commencement celebrations begin on May 20 with a Convocation ceremony in the HGS courtyard. This annual event gives the Graduate School community the opportunity to celebrate prize-winning students and exceptional professors.

Students will be honored for outstanding academic achievement, research, and service to Yale and the community. Three extraordinary advisers will receive the Graduate School's Mentor Award. The mentoring award is Yale’s signal honor for superb teaching, advising and mentoring of graduate students and signals the commitment of the University and the Graduate School to effective and empathetic student guidance. This year’s recipients are Katie Trumpener, the Emily Sanford Professor of Comparative Literature and English; William Wright Kelly, the Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies and professor of anthropology; and Hemant Tagare, associate professor of electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, and diagnostic radiology.

Following the ceremonies, the Dean will host a festive reception for degree candidates and their guests.


View more photos from Commencement 2011

On Monday, May 21, the pealing of bells from Harkness Tower and a fanfare from heraldic trumpets will announce the University Commencement on Old Campus. A procession of ceremonial mace and flag bearers will lead the way, followed by the faculty in traditional academic regalia. Students from all schools of the University will stream onto Old Campus in the caps and gowns appropriate to their degrees, which President Richard C. Levin will confer upon them, school by school, building to the climax – in Latin – of the PhD degrees.

The Graduate School’s diploma ceremony will follow in Woolsey Hall. Diplomas for the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Engineering will be awarded by the Dean and faculty representatives from each department or program. Students receiving master’s degrees from the Yale MacMillan Center for International & Area Studies and the Economic Growth Center will receive their diplomas in a ceremony held at Luce Hall.

A luncheon follows both diploma ceremonies.

Graduate Mentor Awards

The Graduate Mentor Award recognizes teachers and advisers who have been exceptional in their support of the professional, scholarly, and personal development of their students. It is the Graduate School's principal award honoring dissertation advisers in all graduate programs.

Awards are given in each of the three academic areas: humanities, social sciences, and sciences, based on anonymous nominations from grateful students. Here's what some of the students said, in their letters of nomination.

One student wrote in a letter recommending Professor Trumpener for the honor, “I have met no other professor, who invests as much time and energy in their students, who is as inspiring and selfless as Katie. Katie represents to me everything that is most valuable in academia and everything that I aspire to be both professionally and, more importantly, as a person.”

Another said, “This for me is true mentoring: Katie has convinced me that there is room for someone like me in this field, that I have something to contribute, and she is willing to invest considerable personal time and effort into (and, as my adviser, in some ways stake her own reputation on) my reaching my full potential as a scholar within the context of my wider life. This is such a gift, and honestly, I am a much better scholar for Katie's support and acknowledgment of my various responsibilities.”

And a third noted, “As a dissertation adviser, her energy, inspiration, and empathy have been a life-changing gift. She is at once the most intellectually imaginative, rigorous, far-reaching adviser and the most humane and generous mentor I have ever encountered in my time at Yale. Through her openness and courage, she has singlehandedly changed the atmosphere of graduate life in our department.”

In nominating Professor Kelly, one grateful advisee said, “His tireless guidance and continuous encouragement, not only while writing the dissertation as well as throughout my doctoral career, are outstanding. His commitment to teaching and learning, attention to detail, and his respect for knowledge have greatly shaped my own work and way of thinking.”

A second letter described Kelly in these terms: “Unparalleled professionalism, sincere dedication, and encyclopedic knowledge are just a few ways to describe how Professor Kelly has been a model teacher, mentor, and scholar for me.”

Another student wrote, “Professor Kelly has devoted his career to cultivating a professional fellowship that links juniors and seniors, professors, and students. Crucially, it is not Professor Kelly’s authority as an adviser that binds his many students across the world together. Rather, it is the magnetism of his intellect, the depth of his dedication to the discipline, and the magnanimity of his guidance that gives us a sense of belonging and gratefulness to call Professor Kelly our mentor.”

The letters putting forth Professor Tagare’s name for the Graduate Mentor Award were also rich in praise. According to one letter, “Hemant was more than my adviser. He took an interest in my professional development, extra-curricular activities, and personal life. He worked around my other obligations when I became involved in the GSA, and he always encouraged my involvement as a teaching fellow. Additionally, he was incredibly helpful in my job search and in making my final decision.”

“Hemant encourages curiosity, creativity, and the overall pursuit of true understanding, while never discouraging the unconventional,” said another. “He has taught me to be confident in my abilities as a researcher and what it really means to be a scholar. Hemant is a true mentor.”

A third student wrote, “In addition to being overwhelmed by the productivity and creativity of his research, I am thankful for his continuing and countless help with my studies, research, career, and life. He truly takes the success of his students as his priority as a professor. He is always accessible for giving research advice as well as for helping with writing and preparation for presentations. He listens to his students and helps solve problems, no matter whether they are academic or personal.”

Each recipient will be afforded an opportunity to discuss his or her mentoring philosophy during the Convocation ceremony.