Cheese and Quackers: A Cheesy Celebration for Our Graduates

By Cam Zapater. At this event, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has acknowledged fall graduates who have successfully defended their theses.

Graduate Student Fernanda Morales Calva

By Cam Zapater

Cheese and Quackers, a clever play on the words Cheese and Crackers, is an event held by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to celebrate students who successfully defended their theses. By completing this final step before graduation, they are considered to have their “ducks in a row.”

Students, friends, and families gathered to celebrate this accomplishment in a cheesy fashion. Attendees had the chance to select their own rubber ducks and enjoy a variety of cheesy delicacies. 

A popular moment among the crowd was witnessing participants make their duck selections. 

“I really enjoyed talking to other graduates and seeing their duck choices based on their research or personal interests,” said Fernanda Morales Calva, a recent master’s graduate in psychological sciences.

“I ended up choosing a rockstar duck with drumsticks because I used to play the drums. You can showcase your personality and have your duck represent you,” she added.

The organizer of the event, Elizabeth Tippee, held a similar opinion.

“It was so fun to see how deliberate some of the students were when selecting their ducks,” she said. “They put a lot of thought into this choice.” 

Since 2011, when it first began, this tradition has been embraced by students and staff alike. The inspiration struck Paula Sanders, Dean of the Graduate Office at that time, when she overheard her staff member, Anita Smith, speaking with a student in the process of submitting his thesis.

“They were so nervous. So, so nervous,” said Smith. “I was just reassuring them as I went along, piece by piece, looking at everything. And I finally said, you know, it looks like you don’t have a thing to worry about, your ducks are all in a row.”

Since then, the Graduate Office has ordered hundreds of different ducks every year to celebrate the achievements of its students.

Join us again in May as we celebrate our Spring graduates!