Pomp and circumstance took on a decidedly Minnesota flavor Friday when a northern Minnesota professor paddled a canoe to a commencement ceremony.

Brian Donovan, a professor of English at Bemidji State University, wore a cap, a gown, a life jacket and a big smile as he paddled across Lake Bemidji to the campus grounds for commencement ceremonies at Sanford Center.

Photos of the popular professor paddling quickly went viral when posted on the Bemidji State University Facebook page.

Donovan’s university web page biography hints at him being a man of many interests. His scholarly specialty is “ancient Greek rhetoric,” his interests include acting, bicycling and scuba diving, and “his favorite aspect of teaching at BSU is the opportunity to subvert the class system of the United States of America,” the bio says.

While his paddling wasn’t quite subversive, it did have the effect of making the graduating class smile.