Turning Pages in Tainan

Today was the day of commencement ceremonies at the Tainan Women's College of Arts and Technology. This year's ceremonies coincided with torrential rains in southern Taiwan. Plans to award diplomas outdoors were abandoned.

If anything, though, the sogginess just made everyone giddier.

A tradition at this college is for graduates to take a final walk around the campus. Their path winds through colorful and carefully maintained trellises, sculpture gardens, archways, and rows of exotic trees. Loudspeakers sound Taiwanese songs and extroverted music by Handel, Bach, Elgar and Copland. The final stretch takes graduates under a series of festive arches designed, decorated, and held aloft by their classmates.

rite of passage

Joining the college graduates in this tradition were students graduating from the elementary school on campus.


The awarding of diplomas took place indoors.


A choir from the Music Department sang onstage. This choir is a volunteer group (classes are over) and it's tougher work than it appears. The singers, besides having to prepare and perform music in the same week as their final exams, are also called upon in the ceremony to stand perfectly still on stage, holding lit candles, for over forty minutes.

flags, singers, profs

This graduating class is the last from Tainan Women's College. The school has already begun admitting male students and will bear a new name next year. So even more than most, this event marked a moment of completion.

And beginnings.


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