The Hooding Ceremony
At the banquet held the night before graduation, each graduate is presented with a letter from a faculty member as part of the hooding ceremony. The following is a excerpt from a speech explaining what the hooding ceremony means.
"Tomorrow when these students receive their diplomas and sign out of the book, they are pronounced "graduates". They become "alumni". In terms of that ceremony, they will experience a change in their identity and social status. However, tonight, in this hooding ceremony, they experience a more subtle and fundamental transformation. Tonight is when the community and people who have nurtured them through this process take a moment to offer a blessing which is both descriptive and prescriptive.
In the descriptive aspect of a blessing, information about a person’s being and identity is communicated. A blessing is always grounded in whom that person has shown himself or herself to be. Blessings we find in the Bible include the phrases, “You are my firstborn, my might, my strength,” “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of a field,” and “You are a rawboned donkey.” While we're not likely to hear exactly these kinds of accolades, the affirmation of identity we will hear can be no less honest. It's crucial that the descriptive portion of the blessing be as specific and insightful as the biblical examples.
Yet, the real power of a blessing is in its prescriptive aspect. This is the functional component. The prescriptive speaks to the promise that is yet to come. As such, it honors the commitment and calling that has brought each of these graduates thus far because it releases the recipient to freely walk in the new responsibilities that completing this kind of study requires. As Paul wrote to Timothy, the graduates "must continue in the things which [they] have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom [they] have learned them" (2 Timothy 3:14).
This hooding ceremony is a vital moment in the UGST journey because it is not enough to have the knowledge or the experience that UGST provides; you need the blessing. You need the understanding that you have been entrusted with a great responsibility for ministry and that you won’t be left to shoulder this alone."
View more pictures from the banquet
704 Howdershell Rd.
Florissant, MO 63033
Director of Admissions
Dean of Administration