Archive for Wednesday, May 22, 2013

40 years ago: KU Commencement cut short by stormy weather

May 22, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 22, 1973:

  • Graduating seniors at Kansas University's Commencement exercises made the traditional march down Mount Oread to the stadium this week. Bachelor's degrees had gone to 3,054 students this year, the largest class that KU had yet graduated. The crowd surged to their feet and erupted into cheers when it was announced that Chancellor Raymond Nichols would be the first person named Chancellor Emeritus of the university upon his retirement. (Nichols was to be succeeded by Archie Dykes on June 30.) Skies grew darker as the ceremony proceeded, with lightning and thunder growing more threatening; an even more rousing cheer rose from the students when it was announced that the graduation would be shortened on account of bad weather.
  • The 101st Commencement was followed by a spring thunderstorm that dumped nearly an inch of rain on Lawrence. Surrounding areas were reported to have received even more rain, with Baldwin and other areas in southern Douglas County receiving 2.1 inches. A lightning bolt had hit the 605-foot antenna for the KANU radio station, which was now off the air for a day or two while transmission lines were being repaired.
  • During a recent hot evening, a crowd of about 1,500 had gathered at Lawrence High School to hear the school's musical and choral groups perform their spring concert. Temperatures in the LHS gymnasium rose to about 90 degrees, but the audience, using their programs as fans, stuck it out through the oppressive heat to enjoy the concert all the way through to its stirring finale when all the groups joined in to play and sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" -- a rousing conclusion that was reported to have brought tears to the eyes of musicians and spectators alike.

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