One of the more “stellar” decisions the Class of 2023 made in preparation for their graduation was the selection of four faculty members to perform the sacred ritual of hooding. Drs. William Huang, Jordan Khail, Sharmon Osae, and Brian Seagraves received the nod and hooded the 136 graduates as they cross the stage this Saturday at the College of Pharmacy’s 2023 PharmD Commencement.
Originating in European universities in the 11th century as a way for academians to stay warm in cold medieval libraries, the hood later transitioned to a symbol of a wearer’s continuous pursuit of knowledge, along with their school, degree, and field of study. This expression of tradition evolved into today’s hooding ritual and allows faculty members to recognize a student’s scholastic success, while acknowledging their transition from “student” to “colleague.”
These PharmDawg Superheroes were featured on May the 4th, which coincided with Star Wars Day/“May the Force be with You”). As we salute these 2023 hooders, we asked them to share what it meant to be selected – and what their superpowers are! Enjoy their responses.
Dr. William Huang – “This is my first time hooding graduates, and I feel so special to be selected. The Class of 2023 will always have a special place in my heart. Just four years ago, I had the special honor of coating these students with their white coats at the start of their journey in pharmacy school. Now, as their journey comes to an end, I’m once again filled with gratitude and so immensely honored to be hooding these new graduates. My ability to foster personal and professional relationships with my students is my superpower. I believe it is through continued encouragement, support, and engagement that ultimately shapes these young professionals to become confident healthcare professionals for our community.”
Dr. Jordan Khail – “I’m incredibly touched to have been chosen for this honor. For me, being selected by my students to hood them at graduation is confirmation of my primary goal: to build their confidence and provide support for all the things required for their success. I’ve always had the ability to read people – a skill that I certainly honed during my time as an investigator at the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency. Here at UGA, I use that ‘superpower’ to identify what’s going on beneath the surface with our students so that I can better support and guide them through these challenging years.”
Dr. Sharmon Osae – “It is an honor and a privilege to be considered someone who has been instrumental to the development of our graduates’ burgeoning careers. My passion to teach is my superpower and comes from the wonderful feeling I get when I see students truly learning. When the light bulb goes off and I see connections being made, I know these connections will allow them to positively impact lives in the future.”
Dr. Brian Seagraves – “During my career, I have been fortunate to receive many accolades. However, being selected as a hooder by the graduating Pharm.D. class far outweighs and is more prestigious than other awards. Students graduating with a Pharm.D. is a culmination of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. Being a faculty member who places the hood upon them and calling them “doctor” is a humbling moment. It is a way of passing on the torch for the profession. I consider myself lucky. I have the most amazing superpower of all – the students. I am fortunate to be a part of teaching and molding new pharmacists. Seeing them learn and grow during their four years is a phenomenal experience for me. My favorite moments are the ones that I call the “Excelsior moments” – that’s when the student gets it, and everything makes sense. I see lots of those. I get calls from many of my former students who want to consult on a case or simply just want to say ‘hi.’ I’m all smiles with every call I get. Graduation is a bitter-sweet moment for me. I hate to see the students go but I’m excited to see all that they will accomplish in their careers. They have all the skills and knowledge required to start their next adventure. My advice to the graduates is to never give up learning. An intelligent person is one who realizes that he/she doesn’t know everything and tries to learn something new each day. This will keep you humble. This will keep you fresh. This will keep you happy.”
Superheroes Drs. William Huang, Brian Seagraves, and Jordan Khail (top) assume the superhero stance, while Dr. Sharmon Osae (above) puts her superhero powers into action by hooding Dr. Nohemi Martinez.