Commencement countdown

March 12, 2001

Carol J. Schlueter

How to involve more of the campus in an important event like commencement? Invite more people to the party! That's just what the university is planning to do:invite all employees to commencement celebrations. So, mark your calendars for May 18 and 19 and get ready to help celebrate the most important event of campus life.

Later this month all faculty and staff members will receive formal invitations to the University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 19, and to the second annual Wave Goodbye party the evening of May 18. Each employee will be entitled to two free tickets to the Wave Goodbye celebration of New Orleans food and music held on the Gibson quad.

"I am absolutely delighted that all the people here who work so hard on behalf of students can celebrate commencement with them," said Debbie Grant, assistant vice president for university communications and commencement planner.

The Friday night party on commencement eve drew more than 8,000 last year, including graduates, families and friends. This year's event, which will start at 7 p.m., will feature music by the Funky Meters and the Radiators. In order to attend Wave Goodbye, employees must pick up tickets that will be available on both campuses the weeks of May 8 and 14.

More information on the ticket distribution will be available later. More than 10,000 parents, friends and graduates are expected at the Superdome at 9:30 a.m. on May 19 for the University Commencement ceremony. Making sure every detail is perfect is up to commencement leaders Grant; Earl Retif, registrar; and Billie Banker, executive assistant to the president, along with help from deans' offices and various administrative units. Many have been working on the events since last fall.

Commencement speaker will be Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, a Washington-based organization that is a voice for children and families. Edelman received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000 and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include five books about families and children. Her latest book in 1999 is Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors.

Recipient of a Newcomb honorary degree in 1978, Edelman is a graduate of Yale Law School and in the mid-1960s directed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar.

"Our speaker will be tremendous," Grant said. "We've gotten great feedback. Our colleagues at the health sciences center campus are especially excited." The university ceremony will again feature the musical elements "that have been such a hit with people who attend," Grant said: herald trumpets to announce the procession, bagpipers to lead in the platform party, music by Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band and a special song by local singer Wanda Rouzan.

When that ceremony closes before noon, graduates will spread out to attend diploma ceremonies sponsored by their schools and colleges.

The diploma ceremony schedule on May 19 will be: Noon, University College, Westfeldt Club, Superdome; 1 p.m., Newcomb College, main stage, Superdome; 1 p.m., A. B. Freeman School of Business, La Nouvelle Orleans Hall, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; 1 p.m, School of Engineering, La Louisiane Hall, Morial Convention Center; 1 p.m., Law School, Conference Auditorium, Morial Convention Center; 1 p.m., School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, McAlister Auditorium; 3 p.m., School of Medicine, McAlister Auditorium; 4 p.m., Tulane College, main stage, Superdome; and 4 p.m., School of Architecture, School of Architecture Quadrangle.

The Graduate School will have its awarding of academic regalia ceremony at 6 p.m. on May 18 in McAlister Auditorium. Free bus service will provided on a continuous loop between the Superdome and the Morial Convention Center the afternoon of May 19.

Bus service also will be available from the Diboll Complex parking garage to the Superdome prior to the University Commencement ceremony. Watch for more information on the commencement Web site, http://www. A force of Tulane employee volunteers is vital to the success of the University Commencement ceremony.

A meeting for all interested volunteers will be held at 10 a.m. on April 11 in McAlister Auditorium, said Frank Currie, director of employee relations and staff development, who will oversee the volunteer effort. More information will be sent out later this month, but anyone with questions can call 862-8000, ext. 1716 or 588-5417.

"If you want to be an integral part of the Tulane community, please assist us with Commencement 2001," Currie said.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000