Blue Heaven

I am finally getting around to posting about Sarah’s graduation last weekend in Chapel Hill. It was a great North Carolina weekend with my family. I took the red-eye out of Seattle on Friday night and made it to campus just in time to see Sarah get her doctoral hood at the hooding ceremony at Memorial Hall. Here are a couple of pictures from after the event. Keep in mind I just got off a plane and had gotten no sleep. That is my excuse.
Here is Sarah as the University of North Carolina’s newest PhD in Cell and Molecular Physiology. Important to note here is that her Dissertation passed the most important PhD test: It’s title is unintelligible to the average person, who therefore would have no idea what Sarah was writing about: “Spike Timing in Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus Pyramidal Cells.”
The proud family:

After the ceremony, we all wanted to go play tennis together. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and a thunderstorm downpour set in. I don’t get to hear the sound of thunder alot in Seattle, so I wasn’t complaining. And the rain didn’t interfere with our ability to eat some delicious Carolina-style bar-b-que on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, Sarah decided to attend the large, university commencement held in Kenan Stadium. As someone who missed her own university commencement services twice, I have to say, commencement was actually alot of fun.
Sarah, as a PhD recipient got to march in and sit at an honored place on the field:

We actually had a really good seat, on the first row in the balcony overlooking the field. Here are Mom, Dad, and Melissa, with Sarah’s best friend Ann as well:

So what made commencement so fun? Here is my list of the top three reasons why:

1. The incredibly school-spirited Carolina graduating seniors. Ordinarily, I find excessive school spirit mildly irritating, but for some reason, when the people happen to be wearing Carolina blue, it is not only acceptable, but engaging, even heart-warming.

2. UNC picked this year to award an honorary doctorate to Dean Smith. It was a pretty great moment for the Carolina faithful. He got way more applause than Madeline Albright. It seems like perhaps the Carolina crowd feels the same way about her that I do for her weak effort in getting the US involved in Rwanda. She gave a decent commencement speech. It is just a shame that one thing can keep me from really liking a person whom I agree with almost everything else about. Anyway, here is Dean, both on the jumbotron, and on the stage.

3. A capella groups annoy me even more than people with excessive amounts of school spirit. At BYU, I couldn’t imagine a more terrifying sentence than, “Do you want to go to the Vocal Point concert on Friday?” I generally assumed that a capella groups were a BYU phenomenon. This season of “The Office” and “Gilmore Girls” taught me otherwise. Nonetheless, because the character of Andy Bernard on “The Office” is so delightfully hilarious, a capella groups now just make me laugh. His group at Cornell was called “Here comes Treble”; at Carolina, they are called “The Clef Hangers.” They closed the ceremony with a performance of James Tayor’s “Carolina on My Mind.” It was a riot. Melissa and I couldn’t stop laughing, half expecting Ed Helms to make an appearance.

After the ceremony, we went back to Sarah’s house to cook a big family meal.

I have always known that our family was rather food obsessed, but only recently have we all become cooking obsessed as well. My mom even made homemade icecream for the occasion. Luckily, the weather was fantastic on Sunday, so we were able to go play some tennis as well, to make up for how much food we ate.

Uncle Bob, Aunt Tana, Greg, and Jordan drove up from Lake Norman. Uncle Tommy and Aunt Gail drove up from Greensboro. Unfortunately, Grammy couldn’t come because her hip has been giving her problems. Nonetheless, many more family photos were taken.

All in all, it was a great North Carolina weekend.

Do you really have to move to Boston, Sarah?

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