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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 21, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 35
Farewell to the Class of 2007

School of Medicine Dean Edward Miller
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

The academic year comes to a close with conferring of 6,000-plus degrees

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Divya Krishnamurthy would have likely received her doctorate in chemistry in 2006, but she decided to switch from the academic fast lane she was on to a slightly more leisurely pace. Let's say that she wanted a certain someone to catch up.

Her wait paid off, as on Thursday, May 25, she graduated alongside her husband, Kapil Gupta, who both attended the 131st universitywide commencement ceremony, where President William R. Brody conferred more than 6,000 degrees on the class of 2007.

"This is one of the most important days of my life, and I'm very happy I'm here with my wife and we're doing this together," said Gupta, who received a doctoral degree from the School of Engineering. The two met at Johns Hopkins.

Like always, graduation was very much a family affair.

President Brody, as is his custom, delivered the universitywide address, where he cautioned against willful ignorance that is often based on ideology, politics, religion or personal tastes. The truth might not always be the popular choice, he said, but it's the right one.

"A fact, even if we don't like it, is still a fact," he said. "We must not ignore truths just because they make us uncomfortable."

For the afternoon's undergraduate diploma ceremony, Brian Billick, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, provided thoughtful words of wisdom for the gathered 1,050 graduating seniors: Be a pig, not a chicken.

Ravens Coach Brian Billick
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Billick was referring to the "bacon and eggs breakfast" philosophy. "The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed," he said. "Be the pig." Billick, who drew several laughs and also praise for his speech, told the graduates to be leaders who are fully committed and passionate, whether it's to a team, a job, a mission or a profession. He likened committed leaders to being patriots — presumably not referring to a team from New England.

While Billick was largely well received, he did face at least one tough audience member, a graduate who good-naturedly yelled "Go Steelers" at the start of Billick's talk. After pausing for the laugh, Billick rebounded quickly with, "We have medications for that."

Not in attendance at the undergraduate ceremony were five graduating members of the high-flying Blue Jays baseball team, which earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division III Baseball Mid-Atlantic Regional and had left Baltimore to play sixth-seeded Elizabethtown College. (Hopkins won 5-4.) Not to be denied a proper send-off from Johns Hopkins, the university hosted a special graduation ceremony on Tuesday in the Hodson Hall boardroom for the players and their families and friends.

Both Billick and Brody took time out to honor and salute the parents and families of the graduates, who crammed the stands in the afternoon ceremony. Many of them clutched balloons, flowers and other gifts destined for the graduates.

The afternoon threatened rain, which never appeared on the warm and slightly breezy day. After the ceremony, families, friends and graduates were reunited in a sea of smiles, hugs and tears.

President William R. Brody
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

It was hard to imagine a happier looking bunch than the Triplin family, a large contingent who were there to congratulate Anthony, a sociology major.

Triplin, a wide receiver for the Johns Hopkins varsity football team, said that as a Ravens fan and Baltimore-area native, he was delighted to have Coach Billick be the commencement speaker. He also sounded delighted to have just earned a Johns Hopkins degree.

"There have been a lot of up and downs, but it's been a great journey," Triplin said. "I came here wide-eyed, a bit innocent, not knowing what to expect, but I've done a lot of maturing and growing these past four years, and I'm very proud of what I've done and where I am right now."


2007 Commencement on the Web

Watch a short video of the universitywide commencement ceremony at

See complete webcasts of the universitywide commencement, Krieger School's master's degree ceremony, Carey Business School and School of Education's undergraduate and graduate diploma award ceremony, Krieger and Whiting schools' undergraduate diploma award ceremony and Whiting School's graduate ceremony at

Order photos and videotapes/DVDs at

Read or hear speeches from the universitywide, School of Medicine and SAIS ceremonies at

A big hug for a happy grad.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

At Peabody, Provost Steven Knapp, Quincy Jones, Peabody Director Jeffrey Sharkey
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Board of Trustees chair Chip Mason, Provost Steven Knapp
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

SAIS Dean Jessica Einhorn
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Paula Burger, dean of undergraduate education
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Champ Sheridan receives the trappings of his honorary doctorate from Winston Tabb.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Commencement comes early for the baseball team's seniors.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS


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