• Advanced degree candidates snapped photos with friends and family before the MIT hooding ceremony, held June 4.

    Advanced degree candidates snapped photos with friends and family before the MIT hooding ceremony, held June 4.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Students suit up and mingle before the hooding ceremony.

    Students suit up and mingle before the hooding ceremony.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Students suit up and mingle before the hooding ceremony. Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, who presided over today's ceremony, and Steven Hall, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and chair of the MIT faculty, are seen in the foreground in the mirror.

    Students suit up and mingle before the hooding ceremony. Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, who presided over today's ceremony, and Steven Hall, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and chair of the MIT faculty, are seen in the foreground in the mirror.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • A graduating student races across Massachusetts Avenue to the hooding ceremony.

    A graduating student races across Massachusetts Avenue to the hooding ceremony.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart offers welcoming remarks

    Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart offers welcoming remarks

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Astronaut and alumnus Mike Massimino SM '88, PhD '92 was the first-ever guest speaker at an MIT hooding ceremony.

    Astronaut and alumnus Mike Massimino SM '88, PhD '92 was the first-ever guest speaker at an MIT hooding ceremony.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • This year's doctoral hooding ceremony was held in the Johnson Athletics Center.

    This year's doctoral hooding ceremony was held in the Johnson Athletics Center.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • This year's doctoral hooding ceremony was held in the Johnson Athletics Center.

    This year's doctoral hooding ceremony was held in the Johnson Athletics Center.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart (left) assists in hooding a degree candidate.

    Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart (left) assists in hooding a degree candidate.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen
  • Melissa Nobles, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and head of MIT’s Department of Political Science, helps a colleague with his ceremonial dress.

    Melissa Nobles, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and head of MIT’s Department of Political Science, helps a colleague with his ceremonial dress.

    Photo: Dominick Reuter

    Full Screen

Slideshow: 2015 doctoral hooding ceremony

Advanced degree candidates receive their doctoral hoods prior to Commencement.


At MIT, advanced degree candidates receive their doctoral hoods in a separate ceremony held the day before Commencement. This academic year, MIT has awarded 506 doctoral degrees, including those conferred earlier in the year, in September and February.

This year’s ceremony for the newly minted PhDs and ScDs took place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today, June 4, in the Johnson Athletics Center, where Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart greeted the new graduates.

Faculty representatives from departments across campus assisted in awarding students their hoods.

Below is the prepared text of Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart's welcoming remarks at MIT's doctoral hooding ceremony, held June 4, 2015:

Good morning. Please be seated.

I’m Cynthia Barnhart, and as chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is my privilege to welcome you to the annual ceremony for the investiture of doctoral hoods.

It is an honor for us to be joined today by our first-ever guest speaker, Dr. Michael Massimino, from whom we will hear in a few minutes. And as you see on the banners behind us, we are welcoming many other alumni back to campus, namely, the 50-year class, the 25-year class, and others who are returning to their Cambridge home for reunions this weekend.

To our doctoral candidates: Congratulations. This is the first of two major celebrations to honor your accomplishments. This morning, we invest you with your academic hood. Tomorrow, you receive your diploma during the Commencement Exercises.

While both events might feel like endings, I urge you instead to think of them as beginnings.

You embark on your careers today: as doctors of philosophy and doctors of science, you are full-fledged lifetime members of the academy, that select group of men and women who have earned the highest academic degrees.

Thus, you enter this event as students, but you are about to become the colleagues of the faculty who have gathered to witness the investing of your doctoral hoods, and you will leave as the newest members of the academy.

To earn a doctoral degree from MIT is a test of character that demands persistence and intellectual passion. This level of scholarship requires not just intense curiosity about hitherto unsolved problems, but the sustained drive to follow multiple lines of inquiry and, when you hit a dead end, to adapt, refocus, and begin again.

In addition to the abilities one develops on this journey to manage disappointment and to persevere through uncertainty, you have also experienced the exhilaration of discovery and knowledge creation.

Your work has contributed to humanity’s body of knowledge, an achievement we all celebrate with you today. We know that you are ready for the intellectual and professional challenges that will arise in the path you take from here.

Along with pride — and perhaps relief — to have made it to this point, I’m sure you also feel gratitude. Seated around you are the family, teachers, mentors, and friends who have supported your academic endeavors. These are the people who explored dissertation topics with you … coached you for your defense … paid bills and did laundry … or brought you breakfast when you stayed all night in the lab — again. They treated you gently when the work was not going great … and shared your elation when, at last, it did.

Today, you are the ones wearing the academic regalia, but the achievement belongs to everyone who has loved and supported a doctoral student.                   

Graduates — please rise and join me in recognizing your silent partners with a resounding “thank you."


Topics: Commencement, Chancellor, Graduate, postdoctoral, Special events and guest speakers, Students

Back to the top