‘In the effort to communicate with clarity I am often forced to deepen my insight into a problem’

An estimated 250 students participated in the UNC-Chapel Hill Doctoral Hooding Ceremony held 9:30 a.m. May 9 in the Dean E. Smith Center. The ceremony recognizes graduate students receiving their doctoral degrees.

Susan A. Murphy, a 2013 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral alumna in statistics, gave the keynote address.

She is the H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of statistics, professor of psychiatry and research professor, all at the University of Michigan. She also is a principal investigator with the Pennsylvania State University Methodology Center. In October 2014, Murphy was elected to membership within the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

She received her 2013 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for breakthroughs that may help clinicians more effectively assess and adapt treatment of chronic and relapsing diseases.

Susan A. Murphy giving the keynote address at the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Susan A. Murphy giving the keynote address at the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Bruce Cairns, chair of the faculty; Lowry Caudill, chair of the Board of Trustees; Susan Murphy, keynote speaker; and Chancellor Carol L. Folt

From left to right: Bruce Cairns, chair of the faculty; Lowry Caudill, chair of the Board of Trustees; Susan Murphy, keynote speaker; and Chancellor Carol L. Folt

 

Murphy offered insights to doctoral graduates that included the following:

“Try to anticipate others’ concerns and areas of confusion and proactively address them. High quality communication is hard and takes much work but this work pays off in the long run! My experience is that high quality communication skills are always valued and frequently allow ideas to be impactful. It is easy to conflate obscure technical language with brilliance – in fact I find that the truly brilliant people communicate very difficult ideas with clarity.”

“Always look around and think we are so lucky to be alive, to see the buds on the trees, to see the beauty in art, to see a friend’s smile. I am so very lucky and that the fact that you are here means that you are too! Never forget how fortunate we all are.”

Keynote address by Susan Murphy

Vincas Steponaitis, professor of anthropology within the UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring.

the dean and dr steponaitis photo 1

Vincas Steponaitis (right) receiving the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring from Graduate School Dean Steve Matson

The Graduate School presents the annual award to a faculty member who has: encouraged graduate students to establish their own records of scholarly activity, provided a supportive environment that brings forth the very best from students, and achieved a successful record of graduate degree completion among students he or she has advised.

In presenting the award to Steponaitis at the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, Graduate School Dean Steve Matson said, “Vin has a reputation for superb mentorship, and his long list of former students represent some of the most well-respected and successful young scholars in the field of Native American archaeology.”

Video of full Hooding Ceremony

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Download the 2015 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony Program (pdf)

By Deb Saine, The Graduate School