Seniors prepare for upcoming graduation

For many seniors walking in commencement on May 11, graduation can’t come soon enough. After four years of countless hours spent on homework, it’s finally time to don their caps and gowns and walk across that stage.

Packets with graduation information have been sent out, but you may still be wondering, “Now what?”

Missouri Southern is offering a grad expo to help answer that and many other questions.

“I think its great. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have everyone in one setting,” said Lee Pound, director of the alumni association.

The expo will serve as a one stop shop for students with various vendors and departments from campus available to assist them.

The registrar’s office, financial aid, career services and faculty from the foundation will be present along with representatives from other departments.

Students will pick up a green card on their way into the expo and will receive a hole punch for every table visited. At the end of the event, students will return the card to be entered in a drawing for a door prize along with a chance to spin a wheel to win an immediate prize.

The vendor, Jostens will have a table set up for students wanting to order class rings or graduation announcements.

“I’m so excited to pick up my cap and gown and order my announcements!” said Rachel Magness, senior criminal justice major. “I think it’s a great idea. You can pretty much get any question you have answered.”

Greg Needham, manager of the campus bookstore, coordinates with Jostens to provide that service for students attending.  

Students will also be able to talk to faculty from the business office to ensure everything is taken care of before they walk across the stage in May.

In the past the program was held in the Billingsly Student Center but now has a permanent home in the Ralph L. Gray Alumni Center.

“[We] are thrilled to host it. This is their home, [students] need to feel comfortable in their home,” Pound said.

Students may be wondering how much a cap and gown will cost them. The price is an outstanding zero dollars.

“There is really no fee currently that covers the cap and gown,” Karen Lane, registrar assistant, said.  “We basically have been giving students their cap and gown at our cost in the past and for May’s commencement.”

A graduation fee will soon be implemented, according to Lane, and she says they are “shooting for it to be included in the fall semester for December graduates.”

Students unable to attend the expo will be able to pick up their caps and gowns at the Alumni Center up until graduation practice on March 7 at noon.  

T“This day makes it so much easier for them,” Pound said.

Roughly 600 students are expected to walk in May, including August graduates.

“A lot is on [their] minds. They have finals and job searching.  This is to make it a little easier,” Pound said.

Students will also be able to sign a 75th anniversary banner as well as their class banner. The banners will then go into protective storage and will be displayed at the graduating classes reunion down the road.

“This [expo] gives them time to ask all and any questions while there is still enough time,” Pound said.