April 18, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 16

Processional to Debut at 2005 Graduation

This year's Commencement Exercises will feature an extra bit of pomp and circumstance that Boston College administrators believe will make the day even more meaningful for the University's newest graduates. Instead of arriving at random for the march into Alumni Stadium for the start of Commencement, undergraduate degree recipients in the Class of 2005 will take part in a processional that will go from Linden Lane across Middle Campus to outside the stadium.

The routes will be similar to that of the processional prior to the First Year Academic Convocation, which was introduced last fall as part of a University effort to foster more campus and academic-oriented traditions.

"Over time, it will be a kind of book-end to these students' college experience at the Heights," said Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Programs J. Joseph Burns, one of the architects of the processional. "The students will, on their final day as undergrads, retrace a path they walked during one of their first days at BC.

"This particular group of graduates did not have a First Year Convocation when they were freshmen, but the processional adds to the ritual of the Commencement ceremony in any case. For them to walk across campus, past the familiar surroundings, as they prepare to head out into the world, will provide one more special touch for the day."

The undergraduates will assemble by school on Linden Lane and, at 9 a.m., hear a brief address by University President William P. Leahy, SJ. At 9:05, to the accompaniment of the Gasson Tower bells, the processions will depart. The Carroll School of Management will head to the left of Gasson Hall, through O'Neill Plaza and down the Higgins Stairs to the north side of Alumni Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Lynch School of Education and Connell School of Nursing will follow a route to the right of Gasson and through the Quad, winding past Fulton, Cushing and Campion halls and the Merkert Chemistry Center to the stadium's south side. The College of Arts and Sciences will follow after CSON, first making a larger loop toward the College Road bus stop and back directly towards and through Gasson.

By 9:20, the undergraduate processions will be in place and ready to enter the stadium with the BC graduate processions.

"The other important part to the processional is that it's an opportunity for Fr. Leahy to address just the students," said Burns. "There are very few times when all the undergraduates are gathered together, so this will be a special moment they can share with Fr. Leahy."

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