HAYS, KS -- An estimated 1,250 degrees will be awarded at Fort Hays State University's Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, in Gross Memorial Coliseum. The degrees will go to students who completed graduation requirements in summer 2001, fall 2001 and spring 2002.
To mark the university's 100th birthday, which is being observed throughout the year of 2002, the graduates will receive a special Centennial diploma that was designed by Art Director Mary Ridgway in cooperation with the FHSU Registrar's Office. The redesigned diplomas are larger and feature both the university seal and the Centennial seal. The Centennial diplomas also are available to FHSU alumni as a commemorative item through the Alumni Association.
Because of the popularity of Commencement, seating can become difficult to find in spacious Gross Memorial Coliseum. Therefore, it is wise to arrive early. Also, for the third year, the university is providing alternative viewing options for people who want to avoid the crowds:
* The entire ceremony will be broadcast live to Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall. The performing arts center, with its air conditioning, easy access and comfortable seating, may be the preferred choice as a viewing site for many people. Special seating is available in both Gross and Beach/Schmidt for people with disabilities. The signer who will interpret for the hearing-impaired in Gross will also be easily seen in an inset on the screen at Beach/Schmidt.
* The ceremony will be broadcast live by KMA Productions Inc. of Hays over cable channel 58.
* The university will make Commencement available both live and for delayed viewing over the Internet. Those wishing to view the ceremony on a computer should download either QuickTime or Real Player prior to May 18. For the Internet option, a minimum of a Pentium 166 with 16 MB RAM or a comparable Macintosh is recommended. Better computing equipment will enhance the performance of the Internet broadcast. The address for the online broadcast is www.fhsu.edu/commencement/. The Internet viewing option will make it possible for family and friends to watch the ceremony from distant locations.
Kansas Board of Regents member Fred Kerr of Pratt will present a short address at Commencement, and Brenda Meder, director of the Hays Arts Council, will announce the names of the candidates as they receive their degrees. Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, Dr. Larry Gould, FHSU provost, and Shelley Hunt, president of the FHSU Alumni Association, also will make brief remarks during the ceremony.
Recipients of the Torch, Pilot and Navigator awards also will be announced during the Commencement ceremonies.
Guests who wish to view Commencement in Gross Memorial Coliseum should enter through gates 1, 2, 3 and 4. Degree candidates should enter adjoining Cunningham Hall by 9:15 a.m. The gates in the Cunningham/Gross complex and at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center will open at 8:30 a.m.
Degree candidates and faculty will be seated on the main floor of the coliseum. Relatives and friends of the degree candidates will be seated in the bleachers and the balcony. Seating arrangements for the disabled have been made in the bleacher areas on either side in front of the stage. One person may accompany an individual requiring seating in these areas. Drivers will find gates 2 and 3, at the northwest and southwest corners, most convenient for dropping off passengers with disabilities.
In the past, heavy rains sometimes caused traffic problems during Commencement by blocking the low-water bridge over Big Creek on Gustad Drive, but a higher bridge has been built and only torrential rains would be likely to close Gustad Drive. However, those who plan to attend Commencement in Gross Memorial Coliseum should listen to Hays radio stations for announcements if the new bridge is closed. Rain will not hamper direct access to the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.
The parking lots adjacent to Gross Memorial Coliseum typically fill up by 9:15 a.m., so those who arrive near or after that time will find it advantageous to park on the main campus and ride a shuttle bus to the coliseum. Shuttle bus service will be available between the main campus and gate 2 of the coliseum both before and after the ceremony. In the event of rain, the unpaved parking lots near the coliseum will be closed, which will increase the need to park on the main campus.