Academic Ceremony Symbols & Traditions

Registrar

The Howard Lantern

The Howard Lantern is dedicated to Professor Lorn Lambier Howard, Chief Marshal Emeritus of SMU from 1978-1987, in honor of his role in shaping the traditions and protocol of SMU's modern-day academic ceremonies.

Designed in 2008 and crafted out of steel, aluminum and water glass, the lantern symbolizes the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, the University's oldest building and centerpiece of our campus. Engraved around the top band is the University's motto, "veritas liberabit vos," which means "the truth will make you free." Around the base are the words to Varsity, SMU's alma mater. Each year during the May Baccalaureate Service this lantern is handed down by the Senior Class President to a representative of the Junior Class, a symbolic passing of the light that sustains our University. The Howard Lantern serves as a reminder of the important traditions which make up our corporate University life and of the light of learning and intellectual curiosity which shines within the students, faculty and staff here at SMU.

Dedication of the Howard Lantern

August 20, 2008

  • Lorn Howard is Professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering
  • From 1978 until 1987, he served as Chief Marshal to the University and currently is our Chief Marshal emeritus
  • The University held its first Commencement in 1916
  • When Chief Marshal Howard was appointed in 1978, he was given the task of making SMU's academic ceremonies more meaningful for graduates and their families
  • Much of what we see today in our ceremonies has been credited to Professor Howard's thoughtful leadership and vision; he paid much attention to music, symbols, and colors as well as added time for reflection during the ceremonies
  • As Professor Howard once wrote, "SMU has continuously tried to promote to both students and their families the long-standing tradition that commencement is an important occasion for dignified recognition of high-level personal growth"
  • As many of you know, each year during the May Baccalaureate service, a lantern is handed down by the senior class president to a representative of the junior class, a symbolic passing of the light that sustains our university.
  • It is an honor to dedicate today a new lantern to be used in the Baccalaureate ceremony as well as to be introduced in our other ceremonies, the Howard Lantern
  • The Howard lantern serves as a reminder of the important traditions which make up our university life and of the light of learning and intellectual curiosity which shines within the students, faculty and staff here at SMU
  • It also represents the dedication and efforts of Lorn Howard who has made sure that SMU's academic ceremonies will shine for generations to come

Future Ceremony Dates

2014 Events


Honors Convocation
Monday, April 21, 2014
McFarlin Auditorium
5:30 p.m.

Baccalaureate Service
Friday, May 16, 2014
McFarlin Auditorium
8:00 p.m.

May Commencement 
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Moody Coliseum

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

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