MU
Oak Leaves

February 19, 2016

101_Days

ICE ICE NO LONGER BABIES An ice sculpture counts down the days to graduation. 

Seniors Celebrate '101' Days to Commencement in Style

Zach Newcomer

The countdown to graduation has begun with the annual 101 Days to Commencement ceremony for students who will graduate in May. Students celebrated this milestone in their college career while dining with fellow classmates—enjoying meals served by professors—and listening to alumni speakers who graduated from Manchester.

As this was a formal occasion, students showed up in their nicest professional attire. Crowds of students flocked together in the upper Jo Young Switzer Center for the reception. After picking up a name tag, students would make their way down hall toward Career Services. There they could have a professional headshot taken for a resume or LinkedIn profile or could engage in conversation with friends before the dinner.

While the students mingled, professors passed around hors d’oeuvres. Attendees could also select from a shrimp cocktail spread, which surrounded a 400-pound ice sculpture. With “101” chiseled on top and a stamp of “Class of 2016” underneath, the ice sculpture was an eye-catching attraction.

After an hour of having pictures taken and socializing with friends, students were invited to enter the open conference area for the dinner and program. Tables were arranged with white table cloths, centerpieces, and a formal place-setting. The professor-servers welcomed students to their tables. “I really enjoy celebrating with seniors and catching up with those I have had in class over the years,” said Dr. Mary Lahman, professor of communication studies. “We reminisce about classes and projects and what they will miss and hope to do in the future.”

While waiting for the food to arrive, students watched a slideshow from the Class of 2016, featuring photos of various activities from the past four years on campus. Students also spent time recollecting past memories with friends and talking about plans they hope to accomplish. “It was nice collaborating with people,” said senior Taylor Anglemyer, marketing and sales major. “I came in freshman year not knowing anyone and now I leave school as best friends with some of them.” 

After eating dinner—each person had the choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian entrées—students settled in to listen to alumni speak. Ben Tapper ’12, Karla Conrad ’11 and Steve Viehweg ’82 all reflected on their experiences after graduating from Manchester and what it meant to them to be an alumnus or alumna. Their speeches were filled with jokes, warm memories, and wisdom that they felt would best suit the Class of 2016 after graduation. 

The event ended as quickly as it started. Students packed the hallway outside the conference rooms and headed toward the exits. As they got closer to the stairs, there were gifts awaiting them—not only Manchester University leather portfolios, but also letters written to the students, from their freshman selves. These letters had been written during welcome week in SOL groups, and many students forgot about them. “It was really cool, thinking of where I was four years ago to now,” said senior Tyler Lantz, sport management major. “It was also bittersweet; I saw some letters from friends who didn’t stay the four years.”