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Lesser-Known College Graduation Celebrations

A student at the liberal arts college who never had to apply for financial aid is kidnapped by their financially strapped classmates and held for ransom.

Following the commencement celebrations at the once all-male university, the Women’s Studies majors carry the bust of the university founder into a classroom and present a lecture on the history of women’s rights in the 20th and 21st centuries. Afterwards, they engage in a Bacchae-style ceremony, burning the bust, along with their bras.


The Sunday before graduation, the animal rights group at a Big Ten University attempts to steal and free the university’s mascot, a live tiger, and replace it with a tiger-sized pile of tofu. They’ve only succeeded once but lost two members of the activism group. Ironically, the tiger also looks forward to this annual ritual.


During finals week, the second-tier university requests the graduating Theology majors to conduct a biblical sacrifice of the department’s first-born faculty member, so that their faith in higher education might be tested.


On the eve of graduation, the private university with the prestigious MFA program has the faculty – consisting entirely of professional artists – bring in their tax returns to show students exactly how much income they make from their art. Following the reading of the tax returns, the students let out a primal scream and splatter the walls in acrylic paint. One reviewer described their work as “deeply troubling.”


Following the Dean’s Reception, the Pre-Med majors at the well-regarded, science-focused university harvest his organs and subsequently host a non-essential organ sale to help pay off their college loans.


The university with the award-winning CS department has a fun graduation requirement for all Computer Science majors: they must work with the robotics team to create cybernetic humanoids, programmed to teach every liberal arts course in the university, in an effort to rob the humanities of their, well, humanity. The robots know that a civilization unread in history, literature, and philosophy will be easiest to conquer.


At the virtual graduation, which also coincides with Amazon Prime Day, the online university closes for the day to allow students to study the increase in consumerism, the decline in unionization, and how the relationship between the two means they find themselves pissing into a water bottle in an Amazon warehouse in about 3 months.


At the Family Day commencement activities, a student at the liberal arts college who never had to apply for financial aid is kidnapped by their financially strapped classmates and a few adjuncts and held for ransom.


A month before the end of their final semester, the senior class at the Ivy League university must touch the bark of the tree at the school’s entrance to ensure they will graduate. However, owing to a centuries-old curse from Salem’s most pretentious witch, touching the bark will also leave them with the side effect of slipping the name of their Alma Mater into 97% of their future conversations.


Author’s Pick

  • Favorite humorous novels: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
  • Favorite funny movies: The In-Laws (Peter Falk/Alan Arkin 1970’s version) and Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder was a genius)
  • Favorite Comedy TV Shows: Schitt’s Creek, Flight of the Conchords, and What We Do In the Shadows
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Alison Lowenstein
Alison Lowenstein

Alison Lowenstein is a freelance writer and author of guidebooks, children’s books, and plays. Her humor has published on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Belladonna Comedy, Slackjaw, Greener Pastures, The Hairpin, The Haven, and other publications. You can find her at brooklynbaby.com.

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