On Sunday, October 3rd, Chestnut Hill College formally celebrated the hooding of 35 students who had received their PsyDs in the years 2020 and 2021, with half of them attending the in-person ceremony. Two of the graduates; Paula Cortes-Daryanani and Janeé Stevenson even traveled the long distance from Hawaii and Texas respectively to attend. This was one of the College’s first celebrations since the COVID-19 pandemic and for the new doctors, it was one that was certainly worth the wait.
“As a staff, there are three events that we most look forward to,” said Dr. Cheryll Rothery, Chair of the Center for Professional Psychology, in her opening remarks. “The day we first meet you as a cohort during new student orientation, the day you pass your dissertation defense, and the day we have the honor of hooding you and acknowledging your status as doctors and colleagues in a profession that we love.”
Dr. Rothery was just one of several speakers who offered words of wisdom to the graduates. She was joined by Dr. Joseph Micucci, Professor Emeritus, Dr. William Cunningham, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Christopher Dougherty, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Sister Carol Jean Vale, Ph.D., President, who all spoke to the newly hooded doctors.
As Dr. Rothery and others noted, after four to six years of schooling, the graduates would be a “triple threat” with backgrounds in Psychological Assessment, Couple & Family theory and therapy, and Psychodynamic theory and therapy. To complete their PsyD, graduates spend extensive hours doing clinical work, creating and defending their dissertations, as well as balancing classes. It is an accomplishment worth celebrating but for the graduates, schooling and hooding is just step one. Graduates still need to pass their licensure exam in order to fully practice psychology. As said in the beginning remarks of her speech, Sister Carol emphasized, “I am in awe of what you have to do.”
It was a touching transition of the graduates into their careers and that of Dr. Joseph Micucci, program co-founder, professor, and previous chair, into his retirement after 29 years at Chestnut Hill College.
“I imagine that I will always be a psychologist in the sense that I will continue to be curious about people, their problems, and ways to help relieve emotional suffering,” Dr. Micucci noted in his address to the graduates, adding, “but I have moved from the frontlines to the armchair and I can no longer rely on a job to anchor my sense of myself.”
His advice to the graduating class was to, “be curious and keep an open mind. Keep questioning whether you know the full story. Whether what you think you know and what you have been taught is still valid and accurate or whether you need to look for newer and different answers.”
The ceremony was followed by a brief reception, where graduates and their families were able to join together and celebrate years of hard work and dedication.
“I hope you truly feel the sense of accomplishment and achievement that you have earned the right to feel. We are all so proud of what you have done,” said Sister Carol.
And truly it was a day of fulfillment. But while the sense of finality on a collegiate career was not lost on the graduates, the overwhelming feeling of pride and excitement for what the future holds, played a huge part in the ceremony as well. As Dr. Micucci perfectly put it, summing up the thoughts of all at CHC, “I wish you all a long, prosperous, fulfilling, and successful career.”
Congratulations to the new doctors in the Classes of 2020 and 2021!
Dana Potts SGS '23