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James Tinney
IU Media Relations

Ken Beckley
IU Alumni Association

Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2003

IUB baccalaureate service scheduled for May 9

Baccalaureate, a traditional celebration of academic achievement held the day before Commencement at Indiana University's Bloomington campus, will be observed in an interfaith ceremony on May 9 at 5 p.m. at the IU Auditorium.

The 45-minute ceremony will follow the Graduation Send-Off at Bryan House. Both events are open to all members of the class of 2003 and their parents, friends and family.

In 2002, a campus-wide committee restructured the traditional baccalaureate ceremony into an event that recognized the many faith traditions that are represented on the IUB campus. The resulting ceremony drew from the teachings and practices of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, and it included prayers, scriptural readings, music and other observances.

A 14-member university committee made up of campus chaplains, students, faculty, staff and representatives of the major faith traditions has met periodically through the academic year to organize this year's event.

"This year's service will build upon the changes that were made for 2002," said Ken Beckley, president and CEO of the Indiana University Alumni Association. "Reaction from the participants and attendees last year led our committee to conclude that the service reached a broader range of religious belief and practice in a very meaningful way."

The ceremony will feature prayers from different faith traditions as well as times of meditation, music and celebration.

The word baccalaureate is steeped in academic tradition. Stemming from at least the eighth century, it has come to refer not only to the degree that is awarded at commencement, but also to a spiritual observance that celebrates achievement, accomplishment and aspiration. At Indiana University, records show that a baccalaureate ceremony has been held prior to commencement for at least 166 years.

"Baccalaureate is an opportunity for graduates and their parents to pause, reflect and give thanks for academic efforts and achievements at the end of the very special stage of their lives," Beckley said.

IU Bloomington's May 9 commencement activities will begin with the traditional Graduation Send-Off from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Bryan House. Interim President Gerald Bepko and his wife Jean will host that event.