KU graduates in the class of 1994 walked -- or staggered -- through the Campanile at commencement.
Jay Drummond of Overland Park was happy to graduate Sunday from Kansas University.
So happy, in fact, that he flashed his rosy cheeks -- not the two on his face -- to hundreds of people lining the descent from the Campanile.
"I'm like a babe entering a brave new world," he said, evoking rowdy cheers and poisonous frowns from commencement celebrants.
An estimated 4,700 students cloaked themselves in black caps and gowns for the procession from Memorial Drive to Memorial Stadium. About 25,000 people witnessed the two-hour parade.
Everyone on Memorial Drive, the road leading to the Campanile and stadium, was looking for something. Parents looked for children. Graduates looked for friends. Police looked for alcoholic beverages to confiscate.
Of course, authorities didn't stop all drinking on the hill. Art history graduate Kristin Krauzowicz of Lawrence had the evidence in hand, an $8.99 bottle of Asti Spumante.
"I actually made it through four years," she said between covert swigs. "Wahoo!"
Like Drummond, other graduates insisted on being noticed.
Jonel Bell, a nontraditional student from Dodge City, received a health information management degree from KU Medical Center.
She came to the hoedown wearing a gaudy cowgirl hat. It was accented with pink flowers and decorative images of cats, dogs and other critters.
"My husband doesn't see too good. I wanted him to see me in the stadium. He can't miss this," she said.
Eleanor and Elizabeth Trelstad, 3-month-old twins from Connecticut, sat in the arms of their parents, Graham and Julie, to take in the action. Both wore Jayhawk outfits for their aunt's graduation.
Eleanor, the talkative one, summed up her feelings: "Baa."
Travis Berkley of Morrill decided that marching down the hill was such a rush that he would do it twice.
His computer science degree allowed him to walk with liberal arts students at the head of the line. His aerospace engineering degree permitted him to resurface with engineering grads at the back of the line.
Folks on the hill earned either a B.A., B.S., M.A. or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they all didn't have a J.O.B.
"I'm still looking. Something will turn up," said Susan Hey, a microbiology graduate from Fenton, Mo.
Some graduates loved their years at KU so much they won't leave.
Environmental studies major Ken Doresky of Lawrence will go to graduate school on Mount Oread.
"That means two more years of KU basketball," he said. "That Roy is a god."
Matthew Reece, a Lawrence religious studies graduate, was also bound for grad school. His message: "Stay in school as long as you can. Avoid reality."
Kelly Seele, a Topeka biology major, won't take that advice. She's leaving KU behind. In doing so, she may escape a now-humorous memory of the campus bus system.
"As I stepped off one day, the bus driver drove off. I was running down Jayhawk Boulevard with my arm stuck in the door. My friends ... just laughed," she said.
Looking back over the years, several graduates summarized what they learned at KU.
Here's what they said:
- Leonor Ibarra, Overland Park psychology graduate, said she realized class lectures were "an occasion when you numb one end to benefit the other."
- Lauren Goldberg, Prairie Village major in English, discovered the power of a tear. "I learned how to cry for teachers to pass a class," she said.
- Stephen Pingry, Pryor, Okla., art history graduate, wore a working camera on his head. His learned insight: "I just don't know."
Tom and Andrea Cygan of Overland Park waited two hours behind a rope barrier along the Campanile Hill sidewalk for the appearance of their third child, Tom.
"Finally, financial independence," Mr. Cygan said before his son sauntered by. "It's great to see him finish."
After the students marched, many parents, relatives and friends of graduates sought to beat the heat by taking a seat under shade trees on the hillside. They had to avoid ending up with rosy cheeks.