Spring semester had ended and the Grad Division’s Twitter timeline was filled with tweets like these:

“You will be a doctor when they hand you the lollipop at Grad Div.”

“Are they doing lollipops by mail this year?”

“When the lollipop shows up, you’ll know it’s really done! Hope they mail these out now; it was a nice tradition.”

An important question has been raised: will you be distributing lollipops this year?

Begun many decades ago, it has been a tradition to ceremoniously bestow a sweet commemorative lollipop with the coveted PhinisheD or Mastered It! labels to graduate students as they file their completed dissertation or thesis at Sproul Hall. Photos abound of proud graduates with their coveted lollipop. Some give them to their children while many frame them in photo boxes, but everyone has a special lollipop memory. It’s the culmination of many years of hard work crystallized into a bite-size morsel.

Would the Grads-in-the-time-of-COVID be forced to forgo this honored tradition? Would they go through life not “really done” due to lack of a lollipop? 


The Graduate Division rose to the call and Operation Lollipop commenced.

Thirty boxes of assorted lollipops were special ordered from a newly reopened post-COVID SIP See’s Candy Company, transformed with their special label and promptly sent to the graduate filers so they could be truly Doctors and Masters despite the pandemic.

Though just one small, comforting token for such a large personal achievement, the lollipop is cherished by grads like Marianne Brasil who filed her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology in May, and Sarah Stoller who filed her Ph.D. in History in April and had initially lamented the potential loss of her lollipop until it showed up at her door.

Marianne Brasil
Marianne Brasil, Ph.D., with her congratulatory lollipop

On behalf of the entire Graduate Division Staff, I would like to wish every new graduate the best in their career aspirations as they go forth to improve our world!