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Student Experience

Congratulations, Ph.D. Graduates!

Mark Hoversten

Please see a message from Dean Hoversten to the Ph.D. graduates below:

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re unable to conduct the traditional hooding ceremony to mark your transition to the title, “doctor.” Nevertheless, it is with great pride and joy that we celebrate that transition with you.

The Ph.D. is both a process and a product. As a process, it is the thrill of a lifetime. In it, you learned not just research approaches and methods, but you dove deeply into your chosen topic to become the expert in it. You learned the discipline of how to learn and communicate. You made an argument supported by reasons that are, in turn, supported by evidence. We are living in a time when this process has come under scrutiny. Indeed, a large segment of society lacks confidence in this process, and the outcomes that result from it. Yet, Steven Pinker pointed out convincingly how essential this work is for humans to flourish in his book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. The intellectual integrity you learned is as important today as it has ever been.

The Ph.D. is also a product. It is the terminal academic degree that opens career opportunities. More importantly, it signifies that you understand the scholarly process of research and critical dialogue. It tells others that you have the insight and humility to admit what you don’t know and the courage to pursue it. Finally, it symbolizes your ambition for knowledge and for personal and societal improvement.

So I congratulate you on your achievement. Please stay in touch with us. Your work is important and I encourage you to continue the rigorous and critical thinking processes you learned.


Mark Hoversten, Ph.D., FASLA, AICP
Dean, College of Design
NC State University