Archive for Monday, May 15, 1995

LAST GUYS DOWN THE HILL

May 15, 1995

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These Kansas University graduates wanted to be the last undergraduates to walk down the hill on Sunday.

"Hey, are you undergraduates?" the student near the end of the procession asked. The answer was yes. "Then go ahead," said the student, stopping.

Such was the scene on Memorial Drive, east of the Campanile during Kansas University's commencement procession.

Sean Mayers and Drew Hiatt, both 22-year-olds from Garnett, straggled behind, telling others to move ahead of them, on purpose.

"We're tired of being first," Hiatt said. "We want to be last."

The two liberal arts graduates were the last undergraduates to walk down Campanile Hill during KU's 123rd commencement ceremonies.

If the master's and doctoral students hadn't followed them, they'd have been even happier.

"Oh, the (post-undergraduate) graduates are behind us? Mayers asked. "That's no good."

He wore a sombrero with "Mexico" stitched across the front. Hiatt, walking beside Mayers, wore a baseball cap. Both had their tassels hanging in front of their faces from their untraditional headwear.

"We're different people who like to be themselves," Hiatt said.

"We're no ordinary Joes," added Mayers.

Why be the last to walk down the hill at graduation?

"It's for our parents," Hiatt said. "It's to build anticipation. They've waited so long for us to graduate, it's fitting that we're the last ones down."

Besides, Mayers said, it gives them a distinction that few can claim.

"Only two people can be last of 5,000 students and it's us," he said.

Asked what advice they would give to future students who would be the last to walk down the hill, Hiatt said, "If you're yet to be first, you don't deserve to be last.

"I don't know what that means but it's a quotable quote," he said.

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