The graduate is a metaphoric composition that explores the relationship between knowledge and confinement. In the work, a central figure is capped with a mortarboard, the symbol of scholastic achievement and expertise. The edges of the mortarboard define the domains of a cage that confines the figure eluding to a prison cell.
The synectic combination of these two elements provides a springboard for many interpretations. On one level it evokes the relationship of the school to prison pipeline that plagues many communities. At the same time, the work also speaks about the debt that imprisons many students at graduation.