As I sit through my third commencement in two weeks, I note, somewhat dyspeptically, that these affairs now combine the sartorial splendor of the medieval university with behavior adopted from the rowdiest of high-school basketball games. When did it become socially acceptable for adults to shriek like banshees when their graduate’s name is announced? There seem to be no ethnic, racial, or class identifiers of this obnoxious and idiotic behavior: with rare exceptions, just about everyone does it.
The award of a degree ought to mark a point of passage into adulthood. Parents, siblings, and friends who understand that might want to stop acting like berserk adolescents on these occasions.
– George Weigel, from the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland.