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Rebecca Keith
IU Alumni Association

Last modified: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Baccalaureate ceremony will feature IU basketball coach Tom Crean and singer Carrie Newcomer

April 18, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University men's basketball coach Tom Crean and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer will be among the presenters at Baccalaureate, an interfaith celebration of academic achievement held on May 4, the day before undergraduate commencement at IU's Bloomington campus.

Tom Crean

Tom Crean

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. All members of the Class of 2012 and their parents, family and friends are invited to attend. Admission is free, and no registration is required. A brief reception will take place after the ceremony.

"It's a beautiful interfaith recognition of significant achievements and transitions in the lives of the students. It also honors their parents and all those who have helped them reach this stage in their lives," said the Rev. Barbara Carlson, minister emerita of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington and a member of the planning committee.

Carlson said Baccalaureate reflects the diversity of the campus and the people who come from around the world to study at IU Bloomington.

"It honors the diversity of people and their great spiritual traditions," she said. "Of course everyone is thrilled that coach Crean will be our speaker. We've had many wonderful speakers in the past."

The word baccalaureate is steeped in academic tradition. In use since at least the eighth century, baccalaureate has come to refer not only to a degree that is awarded at commencement but also to a spiritual observance that celebrates achievement and aspiration. IU records show that a Baccalaureate has been held at IU since 1837, and possibly even earlier.

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 Bloomington campus. The resulting celebration draws from the teachings and practices of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

A 13-member university committee of campus chaplains, students, faculty, staff and representatives of the major faith traditions has met periodically throughout the year to organize the event. It will feature prayers from different faith traditions as well as times of meditation, music and celebration.

Crean will deliver this year's Baccalaureate message. Rabbi Susan Laikin Silberberg will offer expressions of thanks to parents and loved ones and introduce blessings of graduates.

Carrie Newcomer

Carrie Newcomer

Print-Quality Photo

Performers will include Newcomer, who has recorded 15 albums and who was awarded a Grammy for her song "I Should Have Known Better," recorded by Nickel Creek on their 2003 album "This Side."

The Bloomington-based artist last fall released "Everything Is Everywhere" (Available Light Records) as a special benefit project for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative. The organization of faith leaders and laity Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh congregations is dedicated to the common cause of providing for those most vulnerable in our communities.

Native American and other special music also will be performed. There will be Tibetan chants and readings from the Buddhist Sutra, the Bible, Hindu Vedas, the Quran and prayers from the Hebrew liturgy.

Pay parking for Baccalaureate is available at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., and at the Jordan Avenue parking garage, which is north of Read Hall at 125 S. Jordan Ave., between Third and Seventh streets.

In 2007, District V of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education recognized Baccalaureate with a bronze award in the Best Diversity Programs category.

IU Bloomington's commencement ceremonies will take place May 4 and 5 at Assembly Hall, 1001 E. 17th St. The graduate commencement ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. May 4. There will be two undergraduate ceremonies on May 5, beginning at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. For information about commencement and related events, visit