On November 19th, graduate students from each department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences donned academic robes and gathered for a chilly dusk ceremony in Bryn Mawr’s Sunken Garden. Their presence was to celebrate the inauguration of Lux Doctorum, a new Bryn Mawr tradition specific to graduate students in Archaeology, Chemistry, Classics, History of Art, Mathematics, and Physics.
Lux Doctorum, meaning “light of the learned” in Latin, represents the transitional phase graduate students undertake in their pursuit of higher education and ultimately, scholarly excellence. The tradition has been established to welcome first-year graduate students into the Bryn Mawr College community while honoring more senior graduate students and graduate school alumnae. In accordance with Bryn Mawr College’s most revered and unique traditions, graduate students received lanterns – yellow in color – which at future ceremonies will be handed down to first-year students by their forebears.
The Sunken Garden served as an exceptional backdrop for the new tradition’s ritual, with its circular bench seating that gives way to a processional route towards the central vegetated veranda. Faculty, alumnae, and undergraduates were among the spectators to this public event. At several points undergraduate attendees honored graduate students with spontaneous Anassa Kata cheers, reflecting Bryn Mawr’s spirit of inclusivity. Graduate students Cassie Gates (Chemistry), Samantha Pezzimenti (Math) and Audrey Wallace (Classics) served as mistresses of ceremonies and Paul Shorey Professor of Classics Radcliffe Edmonds III read select passages marking the rite of passage associated with the pursuit of higher education.
Establishing the tradition was three years in the making. The effort was spearheaded by Samantha Pezzimenti, long-time leader of the Graduate Student Association, and Celia Shultz of the Alumnae Association. Together Pezzimenti and Shultz worked collectively with other GSA representatives to develop a tradition that reflects the mission of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences while at the same time taking care to respect the long-established traditions of Bryn Mawr’s undergraduate community. Thus, the tradition was spearheaded by the Graduate Student Association, the Alumnae Association, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences working in close coordination with the undergraduate traditions mistresses.