When Tom Walker makes an educated guess, the emphasis is on educated.
So when Walker, a Kansas University senior who's graduating Sunday, speculates that his 4.0 grade-point average had something to do with his being chosen to lead the commencement procession, it's almost a sure bet he's right.
Walker will carry the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' banner during KU's 119th commencement ceremonies. An honors student who's earning degrees in economics, political science and English, Walker said his leading the procession is going to enable his parents to quickly dash back to Concordia to see his younger brother graduate from high school.
"Since I'm going down first, they'll be able to leave quickly," he said, smiling. "It gives them plenty of time to see two ceremonies."
Walker said he wasn't sure how he was chosen for the honor, but he thought his grades were an influence.
Asked how he maintained an A average, Walker quipped, "It's a pretty simple strategy. I go to class every day and read the assigned work."
THE STRATEGY seems to have worked because Walker received a full fellowship at the University of Chicago, where he plans to study economics. Walker's fellowship includes tuition and an $11,000 annual stipend.
Walker plans to spend the months before he goes to Chicago in September "taking a couple of classes sort of for fun." Walker, who came to KU in the summer of 1987, didn't take breaks during the summer like many students. He always took summer classes.
The Concordia senior said learning was his top priority.
"I'm not here to just get a degree," he said. "I'm here to get whatever education is supposed to go with it."
Walker will lead about 4,600 students down the hill, barring rain Sunday. This year's graduating class numbers about 5,200, according to the department of educational services. That total includes students who received degrees last summer and fall and about 3,000 students who are candidates for degrees this month.
GRADUATES will assemble along Memorial Drive at 2 p.m. Sunday for the march into Memorial Stadium. The procession is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m., and the program will follow.
If it is raining heavily Sunday morning and a National Weather Service forecaster said today that there is little chance of rain Sunday commencement will be postponed. At 1 p.m., an announcement to postpone the ceremonies would be made. Two blasts of the university whistle would sound, and local radio stations would carry the announcement. KU Information, 864-3506, also will have updated information. At 4 p.m., the location of the postponed ceremony would be announced through the same channels.
If the weather has cleared, graduates will assemble along Memorial Drive at 5 p.m., with the procession beginning at 5:30 p.m. If it is still raining, ceremonies will move to Allen Fieldhouse. Graduates from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School will assemble at 5 p.m., and students in all other schools will assemble at 7 p.m.
COMMENCEMENT exercises will include introduction of the eight winners of the 1991 awards for teaching excellence and the recipients of various student leadership awards. Robert Creighton, chairman of the Board of Regents, will make a brief presentation, and Chancellor Gene Budig will confer degrees.
Diplomas will be distributed from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the first floor of Strong Hall.
Other commencement events Sunday include hooding ceremonies for graduates receiving master's degrees and doctorates. The schedule is 9 a.m. at Crafton-Preyer Theatre, Murphy Hall, for the Graduate School; 10 a.m. in Hoch Auditorium for the School of Medicine; noon at Crafton-Preyer Theatre for the School of Law; and 1:30 p.m. in Hoch for the School of Social Welfare.
The annual graduation breakfast is 8 a.m. in the Kansas Union ballroom, and the chancellor's reception for graduates and guests will be 4 p.m. at the chancellor's residence, 1532 Lilac Lane.
SATURDAY programs in the Kansas Union include a Mortar Board breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the Malott Room; Phi Beta Kappa initiation at 11 a.m. in Woodruff Auditorium and reception at noon in the Jayhawk Room; and the 15th annual recognition banquet for minority students at 4 p.m. in the Big Eight Room. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., will be the featured speaker at the minority student banquet.
The Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force commissioning ceremonies will be 11 a.m. Monday in Woodruff Auditorium, followed by a reception in the Big Eight Room.