Diddle is back up for first time in two years

Heather Cowherd

For many years, Jeff Younglove and Freida Eggleton have attended Western’s graduation ceremony.

They have watched other parents’ sons and daughters walk down the aisle and receive their diploma. But this year is different, because they will be missing the ceremony in order to watch their own children graduate.

For the first time in 22 years, Younglove will not be attending the commencement ceremony at Western. Instead he will be in Georgetown watching his daughter, Stephanie, graduate from college.

Eggleton, Western’s registrar, has attended the ceremony for about 30 years, but will be at the University of Kentucky on May 8 to attend her son Loren’s graduation.

“Graduation is the culmination of the student’s college career,” said Younglove, director of campus and community events. “The university looks at it as the premiere event of the year. A lot of people have a lot invested in their college education.”

There is a great deal of planning that goes into commencement.

Younglove and Eggleton are both a part of Western’s commencement committee. Eggleton serves as its chair.

“The commencement committee addresses any significant changes in the commencement and any policy changes,” Eggleton said.

There are two major committees that are also involved in the preparation of the commencement ceremony. The production committee, which is in charge of all the processional and logistical arrangements, and the program committee, which is in charge of the booklets. Both committees are headed by associate registrars.

Eggleton is the overall coordinator of the commencement ceremony.

There will also be a new addition to the commencement ceremony this year.

In November, the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving brought forth a proposal to the commencement committee. The proposal was to allow graduates from the Class of 1954 to be honored at the commencement ceremony.

Andrea Haynes, communications coordinator for Alumni Relations, said that every year there is a Golden Anniversary. Haynes said there is a reunion held for those who graduated about 50 years ago from Western.

There is usually a dinner and several activities that take up the entire weekend, Haynes said.

“We believe honoring the Class of 1954 at the 2004 spring commencement will give significant recognition to the attendees and be a special time for them to remember,” she said. “It will also build tradition with the current graduates to promote reunion attendance in the future.”

Eggleton said that the committee accepted the proposal because the graduates will already be at Western for the entire weekend and she believes that the ceremony would enhance their reunion experience.

The Class of 1954 will be seated in a reserve section at the commencement ceremony and will be acknowledged by President Gary Ransdell.

The graduation ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on May 8 at Smith Stadium.

For the first time in two years there will be a back up site set up in Diddle Arena in case there is rain.

Younglove, who is in charge of the physical setup of the ceremony, said the rain site was missing during recent years because Diddle was under renovation.

If it does rain, the committee will decide a backup plan by 6 a.m.

If the ceremony is held in Diddle Arena, the commencement would be divided into two ceremonies that would be held at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Eggleton said that students can look at Western’s Web site to see if there is a change in location. The ceremony would be divided among the eight academic units if that happens.

About 18,000 people were in attendance at last year’s ceremony.

“We still have a large percentage of our students who are first-generation college students, and their family wants to be with them on their special day,” Eggleton said.

It is suggested that attendees park in the Diddle lot, the parking structure or the Egypt lot.

Younglove said that attendees should plan to come at least one hour before ceremony in order to get a closer parking space and a good seat.

Reach Heather Cowherd at [email protected]