University bids farewell to graduates

Dr. Betsy Griffin - Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Betsy Griffin – Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mortar boards and tassels will fly May 15.

A combined 629 students will walk across the stage at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center to receive their degrees in May and July.

“We have two graduations,” said Dr. Betsy Griffin, interim vice president for academic affairs.

Griffin said there will be one ceremony for the arts and sciences and technology students, and then another ceremony for the business and education students. The ceremonies will be held at 9:30 a.m. and noon and will be open to the public.

“We have a smaller number of graduates at that time,” Griffin said. “Everything else is really the same.”

For the ceremony, a speaker will be selected to speak at graduation by the University President’s office.

This year, the speaker will be Russell Smith, a former member of the Board of Regents who is now with May’s Drugstores.

Griffin said a majority of the work is done in public information to set up the programs. A tent will be set up for the reception after the ceremony.

Graduation practice will be held a week before the ceremony.

“[The practice will be held] to let students know what to expect when they get there, and make sure if they have any questions, they can get answers,” Griffin said.

Before students can walk, they must apply for graduation the semester before they are to graduate. Students will receive a letter telling them whether they will be graduating.

“The graduation application deadline is set so that people will know before they pre-enroll for their final semester if there are things they still need to take that they might not have been aware of,” Griffin said. “The registrar will be very busy in checking and making sure all the requirements are met.”

Griffin said the end of the semester is exciting.

“It’s probably a little bit sad for some people,” she said. “[Instructors] don’t like to see their favorite students leave, and some students get concerns about leaving and going onto something new.”

Dr. Phillip Wise, head of the music department, said the semester went “wonderful.” Senior music majors had to perform a recital.

“[They] were outstanding,” Wise said. “I was very pleased.”

He said the department is going to miss their (seniors’) talents.

“They close one door and open another,” Wise said. “It’s sad, but exciting.”

In the kinesiology department, 20 seniors will be graduating.

“It’s been a positive semester,” said Dr. Pat Lipira, head of the department of kinesiology. “It’s been low maintenance and not a lot of issues.”

Lipira said it is hard to see the seniors leave.

“You know you’re going to miss them,” she said. “[You’re] real proud of them.”