University's First Ph.D.
More than four decades after the fledgling Graduate School and University Center awarded its first doctoral degree, the Class of 2009 celebrated a special milestone - the awarding of the school's 10,000th degree - by inviting back David Robinson, who received his Ph.D. in psychology in that first class.
Robinson, who participated in a ceremonial "hooding" in honor of the milestone, has gone on to international acclaim and academic distinction for his writing and research.
As a newly minted Ph.D., Robinson told The New York Times, which covered the first commencement, that he would be happy to achieve the status of a "footnote."
Four decades later, he has 18 books to his credit, including two considered classics in his field: An Intellectual History of Psychology and a definitive history of the insanity defense. He is a distinguished professor emeritus of philosophy at Georgetown University and a faculty fellow at Oxford.
Robinson recalled that the CUNY program of the 1960s was so small, it resembled an Oxford tutorial. "In one seminar, it was just the professor and me," he said.
Robinson was invited to "hood" Kristen Case, one of the newest graduates to receive their degrees in Avery Fisher Hall.
"I found it quite moving," she said. "It was elegantly done. New York City is still the one place on earth that knows how to put on a show."