The ceremony honored the 150 graduating seniors, provided them with their red and white Honors College cords worn at commencement, and recognized various scholarship award-winners and academic honorees.
Secretary to the Dean Coralee Young said that she planned the event in response to the university discontinuing the campus-wide senior recognition ceremony.
“They always had a big event in Worthen for all the graduates, and they outgrew the space. So then it would have been a matter of the students coming to pick up their cords and awards on their own, and Dr. Reubel wasn’t going to have that,” Young said. “We just wanted it to be very special for [the seniors].”
The event began with a dessert bar and mingling. The relaxed atmosphere, complete with live piano music, lasted for an hour before the ceremony itself began at 7:30. The ceremony opened with Associate Dean of the Honors College John Emert delivering a note from Dean James Ruebel, who was unable to attend the event. Ball State’s acting President Terry King then delivered welcoming remarks.
Then, the awards and honors began. The first awards presented were the Joe and Carroll Trimmer Awards for Outstanding Senior Projects. There are two winners annually of this award: one winner for research and one for a creative project. The two respective winners, senior Ally Garrett and senior Gabbi Boyd, were recognized and given the opportunity to inform the audience about their senior honors theses.
Dr. Emert and Student Honors Council President Valerie Weingart then presented all of the graduates with their red and white cords. Every student’s name was read, and those who were present walked across the stage in a fashion reminiscent of a graduation or commencement ceremony.
Next, the 2016 Provost’s Prize was presented to Honors senior Shay Stewart. The Provost’s Prize goes to one student, not necessarily from the Honors College, every year, and requires a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, a resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Director of National and International Scholarships Barb Stedman recognized the recipients of national and international scholarships, of which there were 7. Professor Laurie Lindberg recognized the three integrated studies majors who worked with the Honors College to create their own distinctive area of study, which must be a combination of at least two departments or disciplines.
Finally, academic honors were presented. Students receiving cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude were asked to stand, and Lindberg and Professor Berg recognized the students with departmental honors and academic honors in writing.
Graduating senior Jessica Benz, a human resources management major, said that she enjoyed the ceremony, but didn’t know it was its first year.
Another appreciative graduating senior, psychology major Megan Schott, had some ideas for ways to tweak the ceremony in the future.
“I don’t know if I would have everyone walk across the stage to get their cords, because that took a while,” Schott said. “I liked the scholarship winners and academic honor[ees] more, because you got to hear more about people, and not just their names.”
Commencement this year will take place on May 7, where the 150 Honors College graduates will proudly walk across the steps at the David Owsley art museum, adorned with their white and red cords symbolizing their four years of hard work, critical thinking, completion of a senior thesis, and many memories along the way.