School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics [SLCL]
The School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics (henceforth to be known as SLCL), forms a part of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; it lives almost entirely in the Foreign Language Building (henceforth known as FLB), which sits like a lonely spaceship at the edge of the Quad, bordering Foellinger Auditorium, Davenport Hall, and Smith Memorial Hall. SLCL is home to a myriad of departments pertaining to cultures, literatures, and languages, including the justly famous Linguistics Department, the Departments of Religion, Classics, Medieval Studies, Comparative and World Literatures, SLATE, and Classics, and a multitude of languages and their literatures, including Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese; French; German; Slavic; Translation Studies; and even Foreign Language Teacher Education.
Naturally, SLCL and its home in FLB are the scholastic home of vast numbers of students, ranging from undergraduates to Master's level students, PhD candidates, and even post-docs. A multiplicity of classes are held within FLB's brick confines, for undergraduates and graduates alike; above, the three floors overlooking the flag-filled auditorium are filled to the bursting with offices housing SLCL's army of teaching assistants, professors, and staff people. FLB is nearly always filled with activity, from its table-lined atrium (all the better to study in) to the office-lined hallways of the three floors above, and graduation time is no different... except that it is a slightly different kind of business then.
The Marvelous and Unique SLCL Graduation Ceremony
Every spring, SLCL holds a graduation ceremony to honor those graduating from its multiple departments, graduate and undergraduate students alike. We will likely not march off into jobs as high-paying as those awaiting our peers graduating from engineering, law, or physics, yet our ceremony will be by far the more interesting: the faculty and graduates of SLCL will be piped into the ceremony by a piper in full regalia with a set of Great Highland Bagpipes!
Faculty and graduates march from FLB to Foellinger Auditorium, following the piper; indeed, they follow the piper into Foellinger Auditorium and to their designated seats on stage or in the front rows of the Auditorium. The faculty cut a particularly bright swath as they follow the piper, for more than one wears brilliant robes and several have berets rather than the standard mortar boards. The rest of the ceremony is fairly normal: there are speakers (who come from within the departments of SLCL and are often quite good!), various members of the SLCL administration speak, and eventually we, the graduates, have our chance to walk across the stage, hear our names pronounced as they would have been in the Old Country, and collect our diploma covers (since the real ones won't be mailed out for months yet).
And who but those of us graduating from the departments of SLCL will have the great good fortune to be piped into this the beginning of the next part of our lives?