Commencement is upon us once again at Fort Hays State University. Next Saturday, May 15, Gross Memorial Coliseum will be the setting for the 107th FHSU Commencement.
Through the years, commencement exercises have been held in Sheridan Coliseum, Lewis Field and Gross Memorial Coliseum. For a number of years, there were two ceremonies – one in the spring and one in the summer. This year’s Commencement will have something new: a Graduate School Hooding Ceremony from 8:00-9:00 a.m. in Beach/Schmidt auditorium.
The First Annual Commencement took place on July 2, 1903 at the G.A.R. Hall in Hays, after being postponed from May 1903 because one of the graduates could not get back to Hays from Emporia. Miss Freda Schwaller was unable to travel because of flooding which stopped the train from making its trip. Miss Schwaller, Fred E. Lindley and Ida Shaffer were the first graduates of the Western Branch of the Kansas State Normal School.
Final exams and commencement were cancelled in May 1951 after a flood hit the campus on May 22. The graduates were honored at the summer school commencement later that year.
I’ve been to a number of FHSU Commencement ceremonies over the years. My father received his Masters degree on a summer day in Lewis Field Stadium and my niece received her bachelor’s degree several years ago. I have watched my FHSU friends and student workers from the library walk across that stage. My own graduation from FHSU took place on Friday evening, May 14, 1982, and I received my diploma from President Tomanek in Gross Memorial Coliseum. It was a memorable and very sad evening for me. My mother, one of my biggest supporters, was not there because she was in the hospital that night; we lost her early the next morning.
Graduation brings family, friends and your professors together to honor your achievements. It is also a time to reflect on your years at FHSU and a time to look forward to a new chapter in your life. The staff of Forsyth Library is glad to have helped you along the way with your studies. Good luck and best wishes to all of you.
Just for fun, here is an article from American Heritage Magazine titled: 101 THINGS EVERY COLLEGE GRADUATE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY.
Congratulations to the FHSU Graduates of 2010!