Graduates To Celebrate Spring Commencement

May 14, 2004

by Haley L. Wright

Baylor University spring graduates will take part in several commencement events today and Saturday, including the president's reception, carillon concert and the traditional Ring Out and Passing of the Key ceremonies.

President and Mrs. Robert B. Sloan Jr. will host a reception for graduates, faculty, parents and relatives from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Dr Pepper floats will be served. No reservations are necessary.

Following the reception, the McLane Carillon, located in the tower of Pat Neff Hall, will be played in concert from 5:30 to 6 p.m. as graduates and families gather for Ring Out and the Passing of the Key, which begins at 6 p.m. in Burleson Quadrangle. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in Rena Marrs McLean Gymnasium.

The Ring Out ceremony, a commencement tradition since 1927, features graduating senior women in traditional graduation gowns, passing a chain of ivy to junior women wearing white dresses. Forming a circle near the bells in Burleson Quadrangle (the smaller bell from Baylor's first campus at Independence and the larger bell from Waco University where Baylor now exists), the seniors pass the charge of leadership to the next graduating class of women.

Since 1946, the men of the senior and junior classes have participated in the Passing of the Key ceremony during Ring Out. Senior men are dressed in graduating gowns, and junior men are dressed in dark suits. A representative of the senior class, who has been designated the "Custodian" of the key to a relics box buried under the Centennial monument, passes the key to a junior representative. As with Ring Out, the ceremony symbolizes the binding of classes in loyalty to the traditions of Baylor.

Other Friday events include the baccalaureate service for graduates of George W. Truett Theological Seminary, their families and guests at 6 p.m. in the seminary's Paul W. Powell Chapel. A reception will immediately follow in the Paul and Katy Piper Great Hall.

Doctoral students, their spouses, chairs of their departments and mentors are invited to a dinner hosted by the Graduate School at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Barfield Drawing Room.

A casual gathering for graduates and their families will be held at 9 p.m. Friday on the first floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Ice cream and toppings will be served at no cost and no reservations are required.

Baylor will confer degrees on approximately 1,800 graduates during spring commencement exercises Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The first ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. for students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School arts and sciences programs. The second ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. for graduates of the Schools of Business, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Music and Nursing, the Graduate School professional school programs and Truett Seminary.

President Sloan will preside over both commencement ceremonies. Greetings will be brought in the morning by Drayton McLane Jr., chairman of the board of regents, and during the afternoon ceremony by Dr. Brian Harbour, also a Baylor regent. The bearer of the mace at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony will be Bill Menefee, associate professor of physical education and director emeritus of athletics. During the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, the bearer of the mace will be Dr. Frauke A. Harvey, professor emeritus and director of German, Russian and Japanese.

The Baylor Alumni Association will present two awards to prominent alumni. The George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award - honoring an individual who closely associated with Baylor whose record exemplifies the life and career of the renowned Baptist minister - will be presented to Dr. Russell Dilday during the 9:30 a.m. ceremony. The Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award - honoring a person whose record in public office exemplifies the spirit of selfless dedication to public service represented by the life and career of the late Gov. Price Daniel - will be presented to Thomas R. Phillips, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

Outstanding Professor and scholarship awards will be presented to Dr. Steven P. Rich, Hankamer School of Business; Dr. Anne-Marie Bowery, College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Michael Jacobson, School of Music; Julie A. Sweet, College of Arts and Sciences; Cynthia A. Fry, School of Engineering and Computer Science; Matthew C. Cordon, Law School; Cynthia A. Burgess, University Libraries; Mikeal C. Parsons, College of Arts and Sciences; Richard R. Russell, College of Arts and Sciences; and Janet E. Sheets, University Libraries.

The senior class also will honor Dr. Susan Wallace, associate professor of anthropology and director of the forensic science program, who was selected last month as the Collins Outstanding Professor.

At 6 p.m. in Barfield Drawing Room, 21 Air Force ROTC cadets will be commissioned to the rank of second lieutenant. Maj. Gen. Richard Mentemeyer, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, will serve as guest speaker.

For more information, contact Lois Ferguson at 710-8534.

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