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Archive for Sunday, December 13, 1998

GRADS ENJOY SMALLER, TIMELIER CEREMONIES

December 13, 1998

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They may have missed their walk down the Hill, but Kansas University students savor their fall graduation day.

"Julie! Julie! Julie!" someone yelled.

And Julie actually heard.

A man and woman frantically waved.

And the young person they were waving at actually saw.

If a packed Lied Center auditorium can be thought of as an intimate setting, Saturday's recognition ceremony for graduates of the Kansas University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was just that.

The robes and mortar boards and faces that smiled when crossing the Lied Center stage looked like robes and mortar boards and faces rather than dark blobs on the horizon of the Memorial Stadium field, where the mass spring graduation is held.

Saturday's ceremony drew about 150 students and an estimated 1,500 guests.

It was only the third time the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has held its fall recognition ceremony.

In the past, graduates could only don their graduation robes to participate in the spring ceremony, said Pam Houston, director of undergraduate services for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"But that's so far away from where they graduate it really wasn't very satisfactory for a lot of these students," Houston said.

The Schools of Business, Engineering, and Journalism and Mass Communications also held fall graduation ceremonies this year.

The School of Business held its ceremony at noon Saturday in the Union ballroom.

The journalism school was to hold its ceremony at 1:30 p.m. today in the Union's Big 12 room. Engineering students are to gather at 1:30 p.m. today in the Crafton-Preyer Theater in Murphy Hall.

Graduating in an off semester after 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 years is not uncommon.

In David Cooksey's case it was five, but who's counting?

"I'm still proud," said the communications graduate from Bowling Green, Ky.

More than 400 students finished their coursework this semester within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, compared with an average of 1,000 or more who complete their degrees each spring, Houston said.

And more than a third chose to participate Saturday. Some came because they expect to be gone from Lawrence come spring.

"A lot of people will get jobs and won't have the opportunity to come back," said Ruth Pope, who received her degree in English and is from Aurora, Ill.

Aime Devore, a communications graduate from Iowa, said she expects to be in another state, preferably one farther south.

Pope liked the "more personal" size of the fall graduation. But she intends to participate in the spring graduation as well.

There is one part of a traditional KU graduation that was missing Saturday.

"You haven't really graduated until you've walked the Hill (by the Campanile)," Cooksey said.

-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is kblackwood@ljworld.com.

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