Baldwin Cameras flashed, parents waved excitedly, friends hooted and howled, and Baker University's 295 graduates wore unyielding grins during the 121st commencement ceremony Sunday afternoon at Baker's Collins Sports and Convention Center.
The procession of graduates-to-be, who were clad in the traditional black caps and gowns, twisted across the college campus led by bagpipe music of the Caledonian Pipe Band of Kansas City.
Inside the sports center, Charles H. Price II, former U.S. ambassador to Belgium and to the Court of St. James' in London, spoke about "Growing Responsibilities in a Shrinking Globe."
Price, who is chairman of the board for Ameribanc Inc., urged students to stand up for their beliefs, question the status quo and avoid complacency. "Times of change represent times of challenge," he said, describing the shifting international climate. "The world community is starting to act like one."
HE STRESSED the importance of taking action in the face of adversity, adding that Americans must shun the view that the future is beyond their control. "Wishes are no substitute for national will," he said.
Price said he hoped the graduates would choose to make a difference.
"The only way that a pearl is formed is through creative friction," he said. "On this day of mixed emotion, I could wish nothing greater for you than to influence a world in a world worth influencing."
Following his speech, Price was presented an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Two other commencement guests received University Honors the Rev. Charles Stith, senior pastor of the Union United Methodist Church in Boston, received an honorary doctorate of divinity; and Bob Martin, president of Haskell Indian Junior College, received an honorary doctorate of science.
J. KEITH Keeling, provost and dean of the college of arts and sciences, presented 233 bachelor's degrees and 62 master's degrees. The graduates filed across the stage to receive their long-awaited diplomas, while family members and friends crowded toward the front of the auditorium to take pictures.
Awards were presented to members of the senior class and graduates of the school of professional and graduate studies: outstanding senior woman, Anne Willis, Topeka; outstanding senior man, Anthony Larson, Everest; outstanding undergraduate student in business administration, Robert Vasquez, Baldwin; outstanding graduate student in liberal arts, Rebecca Yoxall, Kansas City, Kan.; outstanding graduate student in business-management, Ellen Hanson, Olathe.
Janell Carroll, assistant professor of psychology and counseling, was recognized by the senior class as outstanding professor.
Following the commencement ceremony, Daniel Lambert, Baker president, congratulated graduates and their families at a reception at Hartley Plaza on the Baker campus.