As parents watch sons or daughters cross the stage
this week, some will undoubtedly drift back
in thought to his or her own college graduation ceremony.
Cynthia Rand certainly will.
When Rand received her doctorate in
psychology from the
School of Arts and
Sciences in 1982,
her 2-year-old daughter, Erin, sat in her lap. On
Wednesday, mother and daughter come full circle as
Erin Rand-Giovannetti will earn her doctorate in health policy and
management from the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public
Health. Cynthia will actually hand Erin her degree, a
fitting gesture for a
family who considers Johns Hopkins its home away from
For the past two decades, Cynthia has been a faculty
member in the
Division of Pulmonary and
Critical Care Medicine at the School of Medicine. The
full professor, an internationally recognized
expert in the area of medication adherence, also holds
joint appointments in
Psychiatry and Public
Erin's father, Arthur Giovannetti, is an information
systems security officer at the School of
Public Health. Cynthia and Arthur's younger daughter,
Devin, is a research assistant at the School of
Medicine's Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
The past year, the four regularly carpooled to the
East Baltimore and Bayview campuses with
Johns Hopkins badges dangling from their necks.
Erin headed to the School of Public Health to attend
class and work on a research project with
her mother's colleague Cynthia Boyd, an assistant professor
of geriatric medicine and gerontology.
"That felt a bit strange at first," Cynthia said. "But
this place feels like a small village. There
are so many connections like that."
In a sense, Erin and Devin literally grew up at Johns
Hopkins. As kids, both girls often visited
their mom and dad, whose colleagues became proxy aunts and
uncles. When they got older, the two
often hung around mom's office, where they got usurped into
what Cynthia playfully calls "slave labor."
"They would do it all: lick stamps, file papers and do
other basic clerical tasks," Cynthia said.
"Early on they got a taste of the mundane side of the
During their teens, Erin and Devin took summer jobs at
Johns Hopkins, working on various
"They did some data entry and other entry-level work.
It was good experience for them, and
they learned a lot," Cynthia said. "Looking back now, the
girls have grown up around my colleagues."
Both girls graduated from Wellesley College. Devin
plans to work as a research assistant for one
more year before going to grad school in psychology.
So what does this family talk about after a long day
at work or in class?
Erin said that JHU talk does come up occasionally,
especially when she asks her mother for
advice on career development, "but then my sister and
father roll their eyes and we stop," she said.
Cynthia and Erin will attend both the School of Public
Health's convocation ceremony, to be held
on Wednesday in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and the
universitywide ceremony on Thursday morning at
Cynthia said that she looks forward to that moment on
stage when she can hand her first child
"It's a lovely tradition that they allow here," she
said. "Of course, I'm quite proud of her and
what she's been able to accomplish to this point."
To be sure, a large contingent of Giovannettis will be
in attendance on Wednesday, including the
girls' 79-year-old grandmother, who is flying in from
"It's going to be quite a happy day for all of us,"
beamed a proud mother.
Erin has applied for a postdoc fellowship in
geriatrics at Johns Hopkins, "so I'm keeping my
fingers crossed," she said.