Festivities at 119th spring commencement May 18 to draw thousands to The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas—The 119th spring commencement at The University of Texas at Austin will be celebrated May 18 by thousands of students, their parents and friends, and members of the university community who have played a role in transforming their lives for the benefit of society.

The university-wide commencement ceremony at 8 p.m. is free and open to the public. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Video screens will provide the audience with a view of activities on stage. The ceremony will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a carillon prelude and a commencement concert.

The commencement address will be given by Edwin Dorn, dean of the university’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Dorn has had a distinguished career in public life and higher education. Before his appointment as dean in 1997, Dorn served the United States government as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

President Larry R. Faulkner will preside over the commencement ceremony, which he has described as “not only an academic ritual, but a festive celebration marking an important rite of passage.”

There are 7,375 students eligible to receive their degrees this year, compared to 7,057 last spring.

Special features include ceremonial elements such as banners and maces, music, theatrical lighting and a spectacular fireworks display from the Main Building and Tower, which will be illuminated orange at the moment the degrees are conferred. The event last year drew an estimated 32,000 people to the campus.

Music this year will be provided by The University of Texas at Austin Texas Chorale and University Wind Ensemble. The singing of “The Eyes of Texas” is traditionally a part of the grand finale to the ceremony.

Refreshments will be available for purchase at various locations in addition to free water at several sites. Special services also will be available to accommodate needs for people with disabilities.

Parking for commencement activities is free in designated areas on a first-come, first-served basis. On May 17, all University parking garages will be available in addition to campus lots marked “C” Parking. On May 18, with the exception of spaces marked “at all times,” all university parking garages as well as most surface lots will be available.

All degree candidates participating in the evening ceremony are required to present a ticket when lining up for the grand procession. Free procession tickets are available at the Frank C. Erwin Center and the Performing Arts Center box offices. Both box offices will be open on May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets also are required for some of the convocation ceremonies on May 17-18 where graduates will be recognized individually during ceremonies by the various schools and colleges.

The following rooms will have remote indoor viewing of commencement on May 18: University Teaching Center 2.112A, Flawn Academic Center 21, Hogg Auditorium and Batts Auditorium. The rooms will open at 6 p.m. and remain open until the ceremony ends (about 10 p.m.).

In case of rain, the Saturday evening ceremony will be moved to the Frank C. Erwin Center at 15th and Red River streets.

The Office of Public Affairs has set up a phone number, (512) 232-9999, to provide general information about the main graduation ceremony, college and school convocations and updated weather reports. The number will be available beginning May 17.

Additional information on commencement activities May 17-18 is available on the Spring Commencement 2002 Web site.

For further information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs (512) 475-7847.