Academic Ceremony History and Archives

Registrar

In Memory of Gretchen Voight

Gretchen's Memorial Service Program

Gretchen's Accomplishments

General

  • Creation of new academic ceremonies logo
  • New Commencement regalia for students to be phased in beginning May 2009
  • Re-design of new Marshals Robes
  • New system developed for distributing and collecting Marshals’ robes before and after ceremonies
  • Restoration of SMU Mace
  • Better communication between Registrar’s Office and Diploma Ceremony Coordinators
  • Creation of new banner stands and bases
  • Selected dressier ceremony attire for staff and volunteers
  • Tate banners used on the stage and first balcony at ceremonies held in McFarlin Auditorium
  • Development of a new and more efficient process for producing Commencement programs which includes proofing candidate lists prior to being sent to designer
  • Better communication with ceremony staff including revised instructions and “cheat sheets”
  • Revision of instructions for CPPO, Police, McFarlin Auditorium staff to clear up inaccuracies and to make more readable

Opening Convocation

  • Redesign of program
  • New online faculty RSVP system used to track ceremony attendance
  • Water bottles handed out to students in procession line-up
  • New custom SMU lantern will be incorporated into Opening Convocation in August 2008
  • Addition of 32 country flags representing international students to Flag Alley
  • Water bottles handed to students while they wait for procession to begin
  • Phi Beta Kappa delegation leads processional symbolizing academic excellence
  • Bullhorns beckon students from residence halls to ceremony
  • Party on the Quad attracts SMU staff to cheer for new students during processional; we lure SMU community to the Quad with popsicles, chilled water, and giveaways
  • Choir performs during the ceremony
  • Howard Lantern introduced at ceremony
  • Students walk through giant balloon columns, greeted by the Mustang band and receive a small, fun giveaway as they recess to a welcome picnic hosted by the President
  • President’s Picnic held following the ceremony beginning in August 2008

December Graduation

  • Relocation of December Graduation from three ceremonies in McFarlin Auditorium to one ceremony in Moody Coliseum
  • Redesign of website to be extremely user-friendly
  • Redesign of program
  • Creation of an online faculty RSVP system to track dinner/ceremony attendance
  • Inclusion of faculty and faculty dinner prior to ceremony
  • 15-piece brass band added; fanfares announce various groups processing into Coliseum as well as used during diploma cover presentations
  • Special choral selection performed during the ceremony
  • Coliseum decorated in holiday motif
  • Convert a gym into a sanctuary by covering athletic posters with piping and drapery
  • Winter slideshow of SMU on Jumbotron as guests arrive
  • Ceremony simulcast on large monitor located in lobby
  • Photo-op created by mustang statue
  • Expansion of communication with students including enhancement of instructions for Commencement to include better information in a readable design, more email reminders
  • Memento given to students who attend December graduation
  • Re-design of new procession passes to look more professional

Honors Day

  • Redesign of program
  • New online faculty RSVP system used to track ceremony attendance
  • Balloon columns decorate the front steps of McFarlin
  • Students’ award certificates distributed during ceremony instead of through the individual schools the following week
  • Lapel pins given to every student who attends Honors Day instead of Honors cord
  • Choir performs during the ceremony 

Baccalaureate

  • Visible signage outside of McFarlin
  • Earlier time for guests to enter McFarlin to reduce wait-time outside of auditorium
  • Giddy-Up shuttles transport guests at Baccalaureate
  • Design and creation of new custom SMU lantern for Baccalaureate ceremony resembling Dallas Hall
  • Addition of trumpet fanfares during the Rotunda Recessional
  • Re-design of new guest tickets to look more professional
  • Safer exit plan developed for guests after the ceremony to prevent the lobby and front steps of McFarlin from becoming jammed 

May Commencement

  • Redesign of website to be extremely user-friendly
  • Redesign of program
  • Creation of an online faculty RSVP system to track breakfast/ceremony attendance
  • Expansion of communication with students including enhancement of instructions for Commencement to include better information in a readable design, more email reminders
  • Addition of the 50th Class Reunion Chair on the Platform Party with a speaking role
  • Addition of commencement ceremony announcer
  • Transformation of Moody Lobby including blue draping to disguise athletic posters and ticket booth, addition of state flags and plants for color and decoration
  • Addition of a large monitor to simulcast the ceremony in the Moody Lobby
  • Visible signage for candidate line-up and faculty breakfast
  • Shuttle bus now transports Platform Party from Moody to the President’s Luncheon
  • Giddy-Up shuttles transport guests at Commencement
  • Mementos given to students who attend Commencement
  • Re-design of new procession passes to look more professional
  • New student line-up entry
  • Commencement Slideshow appears on the Moody Jumbotron prior to Commencement which includes photos from the 50th reunion class, campus shots, and a candidate seating guide for the audience
  • Addition of simulcast of the ceremony on the Moody Jumbotron
  • Enhancement of emergency preparedness plan including “crow’s nest” observers, and police and public affairs participation in training staff
  • New system for guests to safely exit Moody Coliseum at the end of Commencement while retaining the dimming of lights during “Varsity;” script added to the text and new protocol created
  • Commencement Check-Off Lunch re-initiated
  • Banner Bearers receive a framed photo taken with their banners along with a note from their dean
  • Faculty Senate President receives a framed photo with the mace along with a note from the Provost
  • Additional seating available for the elderly and disabled in Moody

Future Ceremony Dates

2014-2015 Events


Opening Convocation
Sunday, August 24, 2014
5:30 p.m.

December Commencement 
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Moody Coliseum
10:00 a.m.

Honors Convocation
Monday, April 13, 2015
McFarlin Auditorium
5:30 p.m.

Baccalaureate Service
Friday, May 15, 2015
McFarlin Auditorium
8:00 p.m.

May Commencement 
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Moody Coliseum