The University of South Dakota graduate school and the Graduate and Professional Student Association will host Jorge Cham, author of comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper this week.
The Thursday events will feature a meet and greet with Cham from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Muenster University Ballroom and a lecture in Farber Hall at 7 p.m.
Cham, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, started writing the comic in 1997.
“The comic strip displays experiences we’ve all had as undergrads, graduate students, faculty and staff,” Erica Mize, second-year master’s student and GPSA vice president, said.
“They’re just sometimes over-exaggerated and played up for the humor aspect.”
Since the inception of the comic in 1997, Cham has also published four book collections of the strip. Cham also travels across the country giving the PhD lectures.
Mize said the strip is popular among graduate students because the characters symbolize the different experiences graduate students actually go through.
“A lot of students who come here for graduate school come from all over the United States and the world,” Mize said. “He’s really well-known. It says something about our institution that we can draw someone like that in.”
Mize said she hopes students and faculty across campus are able to attend the event and enjoy a relaxing, humorous evening.
“Hopefully people will come and listen to the talk, get some laughs and leave feeling better about their day and about having selected to come to USD,” Mize said.
First year graduate student and GPSA treasurer Sara Blom said a few graduate students who read the comic brought Cham to the attention of the graduate school, who with the GPSA, are sponsoring the event.
“He’s really going to resonate well with graduate and professional students,” Blom said. “Faculty and undergrads may find some humor in it as well.”
Second-year graduate student and president of GPSA Jennifer Hsia, said the event is a good way to promote the organization.
“Because we’re a relatively new organization, we really wanted to bring awareness to what we can do for graduate students,” Hsia said. “In particular, Jorge writes about his graduate student life and can appeal to a broad range of disciplines.”
Mize agreed and said the event is a social one.
“Graduate students do come from all over and it can be hard for students to meet people from outside their departments,” Mize said.
The president and vice-president said the event also appeals to undergraduate students.
“He’s a very entertaining person to listen to, with great insights into what graduate school is like,” Hsia said. “For undergrads, too, it’s a good opportunity for them to get to know what graduate school is like.”
Mize said the organization wants to make sure undergraduates have an opportunity to be involved as well.
“It’s a great opportunity to hear someone give a good presentation at USD,” Mize said.
Reach reporter Josie Clarey at Josephine.Clarey@usd.edu