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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
David C. McPhie '98-'00 and Erin H. McPhie '98-'00 received an early graduation present this year.
On June 8 at 2:09 p.m.--while Neil L. Rudenstine and Amartya K. Sen were preparing to address Harvard's newest graduates--the couple was welcoming their first baby into the world.
The two seniors, who had hoped the delivery would fall between the end of finals and graduation, were surprised by the Commencement Day delivery.
"We thought we had it planned perfectly because there's all that time between graduation and the end of finals," the new mother said.
The two also knew their parents would be in Cambridge for the Commencement ceremonies.
"The whole time we joked what great timing it was with both sets of our parents in town," she added.
But when the baby--who has not yet been named--did not arrive on its early June due date the couple thought that their parents would have to leave without seeing their granddaughter.
But then nature took its course.
The expectant mother started having contractions on Wednesday night after the couple had dinner with their parents.
"We didn't sleep at all that night," she said. "At seven in the morning on Thursday, we called our parents and told them we wouldn't be at Commencement."
The two sets of parents arranged to meet in the highly congested Harvard Yard and went to the hospital together.
The new baby girl arrived a few hours later.
The couple had no regrets about missing their graduation day.
"We went to all of the Class Day activities the day before, so we still got to participate," the mother said.
"A lot of the speeches focused on Carpe Diem, so I guess our baby took Carpe Diem to heart," she added.
The couple however, did miss out on wearing their graduation robes on Commencement day.
"We put them on and took a few pictures in the Yard before we returned them," Erin McPhie said.
They have still not picked up their diplomas.
"I'm sure they are waiting safely for us at the Registrar's office," the Erin McPhie said.
The couple met during their first week at Harvard in 1994 at a get-together for Mormon first-year students at Herrell's.
They started dating during their sophomore years and kept in contact with each other during their two-year missionary trips--David was in Spain while Erin was in Hong Kong.
The couple was married in December 1998 in Salt Lake City and decided to try to start a family this fall.
They will move into Adams House this summer--where David lived as an undergraduate--to serve as summer school proctors. He will start his first year at Harvard Law School this fall while Erin stays at home to take care of the baby.
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