By Steve Holt, Staff Writer
Julie Walker will enter the “real world” a semester ahead of many of her peers.
Walker will receive her bachelor of science in communication Dec. 12, a semester earlier than many seniors who first enrolled in 2000.
“The reality probably sets in when you realize you have to find a job after you graduate,” said Walker, communication major from Wharton. “It’s scary because you are leaving what you have known for the past 20 years of your life.”
Walker is one of 225 seniors who are candidates to receive undergraduate degrees the last day of finals, along with 38 master’s degree candidates and one doctoral candidate, according to the Registrar’s Office and the graduate school.
Some are graduating because they took an extra semester to complete their degrees, but Walker and others are graduating early.
“I had it planned for about a year or so, taking summer school classes,” Walker said. “I was really tired of school and papers and homework. I pushed myself because I wanted to be able to get out early.”
The College of Arts and Sciences will issue 152 diplomas, compared to 41 from the College of Business Administration, 21 in University Studies and 14 from the College of Biblical Studies, said June Black, degree audit assistant in the Registrar’s Office.
Two candidates for gradation will earn two diplomas, and one COBA student will participate in the ceremony with his class but not receive a diploma until May, Black said.
In December 2002, 271 degrees were handed out, according to the univeristy’s Web site.
Black said the final December graduation list as of press time won’t change between now and commencement unless a student makes special arrangeents.
“If someone at the last minute has discovered they can graduate, and they have a reason for needing to get their diploma in December as opposed to the spring,” then an exception could be made, she said. “But usually it doesn’t.”
Students wishing to graduate in December had to turn in applications to the Registrar’s Office by the middle of March, Black said.
“We go through and check to make sure they have the requirements of their degree and their major,” she said.
Commencement will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 in Moody Coliseum, where, in addition to the distribution of diplomas, students who have exhibited exceptional academic success will be honored.
Three levels of honors designations exist: “summa cum laude,” which requires a grade point average of at least 3.8; “magna cum laude,” which requires a GPA of at least 3.6; and “cum laude,” requiring at least a 3.4 GPA.