By Clare Myers
On May 17, over 300 students at the University of Dallas will celebrate an important milestone in their lives: graduation.
“Finally!” Father Thomas Esposito, a theology professor who will give a benediction at the convocation ceremony, exclaimed. He later added that he was misunderstood by a number of seniors who expressed outrage after hearing the comment.
The majority of these students will receive degrees from the Constantin College of Liberal Arts and the College of Business undergraduate programs. According to Jan Burk, the registrar, approximately 300 undergraduates will participate, including roughly 20 students who will walk in the ceremony but receive their degrees in August. The Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts and the School of Ministry will also be awarding about 20 graduate degrees.
For many seniors, the reality of graduation will set in on Wednesday, May 6, when caps and gowns will be available for pickup in Lynch Auditorium. Students who were measured in March will be able for pickup the traditional graduation ceremony attire at 1 p.m.
Official commencement events begin Thursday, May 7, with Senior Convocation at 3:30 p.m. in Lynch, according to the university website. At the ceremony, which is the last academic event of the year, various departments will announce academic awards. Physics professor Dr. Richard Olenick and valedictorian Rachel Pauletti will give addresses. Pauletti’s address will be a version of the valedictorian address she will deliver at the commencement ceremony.
“I’ll honestly do my best to represent our class, and not simply our class but also what UD means, and means to all of us,” Pauletti said.
Burk described Senior Convocation as “an internal celebration,” since it involves only seniors and faculty members.
A reception on Haggar Patio will follow the event. Seniors will continue to celebrate into the evening, when Student Programming hosts Senior TGIT. Senior superlative awards will be announced at the party in the Rathskeller.
There will be a short break from the festivities for final exams. On Friday, May 15, Phi Beta Kappa will induct new members at a ceremony in Lynch. The honors organization is the oldest one of its kind in the United States.
On Saturday, the School of Ministry will celebrate Mass in the Maher Center to honor students who have finished four years in the advanced biblical studies program. In the afternoon, departments will host parties in various parts of campus. At 6 p.m., there will be a Baccalaureate Mass in the Maher Center, with overflow seating in the Church of the Incarnation. Immediately following is the President’s Reception in Haggar University Center from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The celebration for faculty, students and their families and friends will feature dancing and refreshments, including hors d’oeuvres, desserts, drinks from the Cap Bar and alcoholic beverages.
On Sunday at 9 a.m., the Commencement Ceremony will take place on the Mall. In addition to the bachelor’s and master’s degrees conferred, the Ann Heller Maberry, Cardinal Spellman and Helen L. Corbitt Awards will be announced. There will be an invocation by history professor Dr. Susan Hanssen and addresses by university president Thomas Keefe and Pauletti. Activist, writer and UD alumnus L. Brent Bozell will deliver the commencement speech.
More details about graduation events can be found on the university website.
While many seniors expressed bittersweet feelings about graduation, Pauletti emphasized that this is a celebratory time for seniors and the university community as a whole.
“To commence means to begin,” she said. “It is not simply an end, but a new beginning. Friendship, our love, our life together doesn’t cease with our departure from here and from each other.”