Washburn sends off hundreds of Ichabods in fall graduation ceremony

Mark Feuerborn

The graduation commencement ceremony for Washburn University’s fall class of 2015 took place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 in Lee Arena.

Ichabods preparing to transition from students to alumni were excited as they lined up, preparing to appear before the vast audience of family and friends in the gymnasium. Zach Willis, graduating with a bachelor of science in criminal justice, was among those feeling the rush of graduation. Willis has also already landed a job at Advisors Excel.

“I’m pretty nostalgic about the whole thing,” Willis said. “I mean, to think it’s been four years already when it’s gone by so fast. It’s pretty crazy to imagine four years filled with fun and a lot of memories can go by like it was yesterday.”

Daniel Minton, another graduate with a bachelor of science in biology, still hadn’t quite felt the rush, but was excited all the same. Minton is hoping for acceptance into medical school to further enhance his education.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet. It’s been a busy week, trying to get through finals, and now, I’m just ready to celebrate,” Minton said.

The graduates filed into the room to the traditional graduation march song, “Pomp and Circumstance.” Professors lined up on either side of the graduates, smiling at them as they proceeded on to the next step in their lives. The traditional procession of flags followed the graduates inside, and each flag was placed at a point on the stage. After everyone was in place, everyone stood while the Washburn Singers performed “Star Spangled Banner.”

President Jerry Farley then took to the stage to announce the winner of the Sibberson Award, given to the graduate highest ranked academically in their class. Out of three finalists, Rachel Prior was selected as the winner of the award.

After the awards ceremony, the Washburn Singers returned again to the floor, and performed a new piece, “Ichabods in All We Do,” which was made in honor of the school’s sesquicentennial anniversary.

 WSGA President Blake Porter then formally introduced President Jerry Farley, who gave a speech discussing the ceremony and congratulating the graduates. He pointed out that it was important for all to remember that graduation was not the end, but rather a beginning.

“The ceremony is a commencement ceremony,” Farley said. “That clearly signals that this is a beginning of something new. Each of you has worked extremely hard to arrive tonight at this ceremony. All of the faculty and staff at Washburn University commend you for this tremendous achievement … These last few years of your education have been full of change … You embraced change because it was new, it was exciting, and there were new things to learn. You will always continue to change, as life is ever changing … As you face change, take advantage of your new environment.”

The graduates were then called up by degree, and one by one, they were called by name to proceed to cross the stage, shaking hands with Farley and the deans, finally receiving their diplomas. The audience watched in silence, except for cheers from family members when their son or daughter was called. Of all the degrees graduates received last night, 161 degrees were from the College of Arts and Sciences, 97 were from Applied Studies, 18 were from the School of Law, 74 were from the School of Nursing and 43 were from the School of Business.

Once all diplomas were distributed, the graduates partook in the tradition of moving their tassels to the left, and became alumni of the school. The graduates cheered, and again surrounded on either side by faculty, proudly exited the gymnasium.