Nerd Factor: Unique Features of Commencement 2019

Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

The 2018-2019 academic year has brought a number of changes to our institution.  It should come as no surprise that the 2019 Commencement ceremonies will reflect that dynamism.  As our graduating seniors should already appreciate, for the first time the ceremony will be split into separate events, with the undergraduate procession on Saturday.  The Nerd Factor would also like to call your attention to some other unique features of the 2019 ceremony.

The summoning of the campus mace: As the campus mace was carved from a limb of the world tree Yggdrasil itself, it should come as no surprise that the ancient symbol of the university is also a potent mystical weapon.  Each year, the longest-serving faculty member steps into the Dell and summons the mace to his or her hand (much as Mjolnir flies into the outstretched hand of the Mighty Thor). As my long-time Critograph column friend Dr. Clifton Potter is retiring this year, we can expect his final summoning of the mace to be particularly symbolic affair.  Dr. Potter will be calling down the lighting and summoning the noble hosts of Valhalla to smite the enemies of the university back to Hell just before the processional begins. Although this moment will long be remembered in song, be sure to arrive early to witness these events yourself.

No hot dog vendors: Due to the shortened nature of the event, hot dog vendors will not be roaming among the students, faculty, and guests at commencement as they have in years past.  Likewise, soft pretzels will not be available. Please visit the campus bookstore for t-shirts and other commemorative items.

A surprise political announcement by President Garren?:  Don’t you think it’s a little suspicious that he’s retiring from the university before the 2020 election season?  Yeah, me too.

A slightly longer look of acknowledgement from that person you knew in that class that one time:  A shorter ceremony will allow an additional 15 sections for this moment.

The extraction of Provost Selden: As you may also know, Provost Sally Selden is also leaving us to join the administration at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.  While we were told this would occur over the summer, sources have told the Nerd Factor that the transition will occur after the very moment she completes reading the names of the students. Students should not be alarmed by the arrival of the SEAL teams. Their presence is ceremonial only.  Since the exfil point is the stage itself, students should also hold on tight to their mortar boards as the helicopter hovering directly over the graduation stage will create a great deal of wind.

The Findin’ O the Professors: In an imaginary tradition that presumably began at Irish institutions in the mid-1800s that this author did not research well, the main highlight of a shortened commencement for the faculty will be more time to interact with the students. We know that you’re heading off on more adventures, but we sincerely hope that you’ll find us one last time before you leave.