What is Convocation and how does it differ from Commencement? As a first-time Trustee of Barnard College, I agreed to attend Convocation this year and now I know that Convocation formally opens the academic year. Anyone familiar with the English language would assume that’s what Commencement is for, but they would be wrong!
With a little bit of time to kill before the start of the 50th anniversary gala of Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center—as an undergraduate at Barnard, I worked with the program’s high school students shortly after DDC, then known as Project Double Discovery, was founded in 1965—I visited The Barnard Store where they sell Hanky Panky thongs and boyshorts in the school colors of blue and white, which we emblazon with “BARNARD” in crystals.
Two alums (Ashley Putnam ’06 and Tracy Rodriguez ’01) and Hanky Panky regulars were at the Hanky Panky display making their selections and squealed with excitement when I identified myself. We were itching to make that instant connection via the Hanky Panky Handshake ™ but, alas, we were all wearing dresses. The revelry continued because, at the same time, Noa Herman (Barnard ’18), daughter of our dear friend, Esti Herman, walked into the store with her sister. Barnard Store employees, Barnard students Ashley and Christina, joined in—everyone wanted a selfie with me!
I don’t remember school being this much fun!