On 6th of May, the Philosophy Department held its annual commencement party for the fourth year running. Timed for the last day of the exam period, this year’s celebration saw the attendance of around 60 guests, comprising of undergraduates and graduate students, alumni, department staff and their families.
Besides being held earlier than in the past, this year’s party broke the mold in other ways too. For one, the party was not held at the usual function room, but by the Waterway on the ground floor of the Shaw Foundation Alumni House. Tables were set amidst the water features and in the large space, creating a more open atmosphere for the participants involved. For another, this was also the first time Yale-NUS students and staff were invited. New faces and places thus formed the undercurrent of this year’s party.
The festivities officially started at 6pm, with guests streaming in around that time. An opening speech was given by our Head of Department, Associate Professor Michael Pelczar, before the dinner lines were opened. At which point the guests tucked into a variety of dishes, ranging from the caterer Rasel’s signature Shepard’s Pie, to servings of authentic laksa and mock prawn for our vegetarian guests. The meal was accompanied with servings of craft beers and ciders, each carefully picked out by our graduate students Wilson and Jeremy. During this time of feasting and drinking, bridges were built across schools years and even generations, as students, alumni, staff and accompanying family conversed and interacted. The sight of graduate students entertaining some of the professors’ children, of undergraduates networking with alumni and of staff catching up on old times, certainly was something to behold.
The highlight of this time of merry-making was a speech by returning alumni/new graduate student Jonathan Sim. Jonathan gave insight into his time working in a variety of roles at NTU and other research institutions. He spoke of how his philosophical training became practical, and by recounting his experiences, offered encouragement on the relevance of philosophy both within the confines of NUS and in the working world beyond. It was an appropriate sendoff to our graduating students.
As the dinner drew to a close, a closing speech was provided by Associate Professor Loy Hui Chieh. Guests of the dinner went home with handmade tea tins prepared by the dinner’s planning committee. Emblazoned with an emblem designed by our own Associate Professor John Holbo, each tin containing some simple teas for the guests to bring home and enjoy – bringing home a little bit of the memories of the party to enjoy over the next week.
(You can see more photos from the event on this Facebook album.)
(Prepared by Mr Ivan Lee and Ms. Rachael Yap, with input from A/P Loy)