Johns Hopkins Magazine
Johns Hopkins Magazine Current Issue Past Issues Search Get In Touch
J U N E    2 0 0 6    I S S U E
The Big Question

As director of Commencement, India Lowres oversaw a series of ceremonies on May 24 and 25 across the university that involved the awarding of 6,192 degrees, certificates, and diplomas.
Photo by John Davis
Photo Illustration by Steve Spartana

Q: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
A: You wouldn't believe it if we told you.

For India Lowres, director of Commencement, an entire year's work all comes down to a single day. Though amazingly level-headed, even Lowres is prone to middle-of-the-night panic attacks in the weeks leading up to the big event.

What if the diplomas get lost? Suppose the infamous "Streaker" decides to make another appearance this year? What happens if the septic system chooses that particular day to overflow? And don't even mention the potential for weather disasters — extreme heat, blinding rain, thunder, lightning, tornadoes...

Lest you think that Lowres is someone who just likes to borrow trouble, consider the following real-life disasters that actually have occurred at Johns Hopkins Commencement in recent years:

  • The table holding the PhD diplomas got blown over, sending all the diplomas flying into the wind.

  • A keynote speaker lost his contact lens just before the ceremony. (Thankfully, an emergency trip to the Wilmer Eye Clinic fixed things just in time.)

  • The elevator to the robing room got stuck with the caterer inside.

  • When the customary red carpet failed to arrive, planners had to rush to Bill's Carpet Barn so that the visiting foreign dignitary would have something suitable to walk upon.

  • Is it any wonder that Lowres keeps a bottle of aspirin close at hand throughout the month of May?

    Return to June 2006 Table of Contents

      The Johns Hopkins Magazine | 901 S. Bond St. | Suite 540 | Baltimore, MD 21231
    Phone 443-287-9900 | Fax 443-287-9898 | E-mail