The 2019 Commencement ceremonies will honor 582 undergraduates and 266 graduates in Moody Coliseum Saturday.
Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Biblical Studies, the Graduate School of Theology and the School of Nursing will be honored in the first ceremony at 11 a.m. Graduates from the College of Business Administration, the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Graduate and Professional Studies will be honored in the second ceremony at 3 p.m.
Out of the 582 undergraduates, 80 students will graduate summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.9 through 4.00; 94 will graduate magna cum laude with a GPA of 3.75 through 3.89; and 74 will graduate cum laude with a GPA of 3.6 through 3.74.
Undergraduate numbers have remained steady over the past few years, Eric Gumm, director of the First-Year Program and Academic Development Center said.
“Although it varies year to year, we’ve been able to stick around 250 undergraduates, give or take, per year,” Gumm said.
This year’s commencement speaker is Sam Gonzalez, a 1993 alumnus and campus minister for Oak Hills Church Alamo Ranch Campus in San Antonio. His daughter is Victoria Gonzalez, junior communication disorders major from San Antonio.
“For the past half a dozen years or more, the commencement speaker has been an ACU alum,” Gumm said, “while the December commencement speaker is usually Teacher of the Year.”
He said a unique aspect of ACU’s commencement ceremonies is the escort. Dressed in all white, in contrast with the graduates black robes, escorts accompany the undergraduates to the floor of Moody Coliseum, sit behind them and, at a given time, hood them.
“This is a unique way for a student to a bring a family member, friend, faculty or staff member who has helped them achieve this milestone be a part of an integral part of the ceremony,” Gumm said.
This achievement has had an effect on the students that are graduating this year.
“These past four years have grown in a number of ways from academically, as a Christian, and who I am as a person,” said Bailey Clark, double major in youth and family and children ministry from San Antonio. “One of the biggest things I have learned from ACU is no matter what job or field you are in you are able to show the light of Christ in that area.”
The entire ceremony will consist of worship time, the presentation of the “Outlive Your Life” award, the commencement speaker’s speech and the hooding ceremonies.
Austin Parsons, biochemistry major from Abilene, said he believes the commencement is a good “book-end moment.”
“The ceremony is great because I think it gives a great opportunity for people to reflect on their last four years and come to terms with it coming to an end, like a way to say goodbye.”
Both commencement rehearsals will take place the Friday before. The rehearsal for the earlier ceremony will take place at 2:15 p.m. and the one for the later ceremony will happen at 3:30 p.m.
Graduate students will participate in rehearsals the day of the ceremonies. The first rehearsal will be at 10 a.m. and the second will be at 2 p.m.