Yesterday, I watched as three letters were magically added to my sister’s last name. Friends, family members, administrators, professors and her fellow classmates filled the auditorium. Her full name was called, a master’s hood was placed around her neck, and Smith College President Kathleen McCartney handed her a well-earned degree. This fancy piece of paper, combined with a ceremonial walk across the stage, is the academic equivalent of being baptised. Katie may now legally sign her emails as Katherine Elizabeth Culpepper, MSW. She spent twenty-seven months completing coursework at one the best schools in the US, worked two eight-month placements (one at Danbury Hospital, CT; the other at the DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX), and wrote a thesis on suicide prevention for veterans. She is now qualified to work on becoming a licensed clinical social worker. We couldn’t be more proud of her or the path that she has chosen. Here’s to the transformative power of cultural rituals like commencement ceremonies and therapy sessions. Here’s to those moments when words have the power to do what they say.