Approximately 450 graduates plan to participate in Eastern Illinois University's Fall 2016 Commencement, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 17, in Lantz Arena.
Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Guest tickets are required for admission.
Students from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will march in the morning ceremony, while students from the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences and the School of Continuing Education (Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree) will march in the afternoon. Students enrolled in the Graduate School will march with their respective colleges.
President David M. Glassman will preside. Music will be provided by the EIU Wind Symphony.
EIU alumnus Bill Skeens will present the “Charge to the Class” during both ceremonies. The 1977 business/marketing major is the founder of Prairie City Bakery; its first product -- “Muffin Tops” – was later featured on the Seinfeld show. The company now sells its baked goods worldwide to the food service industry, convenience stores and drug chain markets, and is the “Official Cookie of the Chicago Cubs.”
Student speakers will be Amanda Patterson, an MBA candidate from Streamwood, during the morning ceremony, and Cynthia Johnson of Champaign, who will represent the School of Continuing Education at the 1 p.m. ceremony.
Representing Eastern's Board of Trustees will be Daniel P. Caulkins of Decatur at 10 a.m. and Timothy Burke of Evanston at 1 p.m.
Traditionally, a commencement marshal leads the commencement procession while carrying the university mace, a symbol of honor accorded a faculty member. The commencement marshal for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Austin Cheney, who, as chair of the School of Technology, represents the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences. Representing the College of Education and Professional Studies at 1 p.m. will be Misty L. Rhoads, chair and associate professor in Eastern’s Health Studies Department.
Additionally, Grant Sterling, who was selected as EIU’s 2016 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for his contributions to the university, the field of philosophy, and the community, will be formally recognized. The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.