Commencement Day Information from President Wilson for Graduates and their Families

To the Class of 2012 and their Families
From President Wilson

We are quickly approaching the end of the academic year and the graduation of the Class of 2012. The Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. Chair seating for the traditional campus outdoor ceremony will be provided on the lawn of the Eckley Quadrangle. We ask that guests be seated by 12:15 p.m. so that the procession of graduates and faculty can begin at 12:40 p.m.

Our speaker is the internationally-renowned classical pianist Awadagin Pratt, a Bloomington-Normal native who is lauded for his musical skill and insight along with his advocacy for music education. Mr. Pratt became the first student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting – and in 1992 he won the Naumburg International Piano Competition. In 1997 he and his family founded the Pratt Music Foundation to encourage the musical development of children in the Bloomington-Normal area who have motivation, talent and financial need. Each year the Foundation provides scholarships for classical music instruction through the IWU School of Music Preparatory Program. Mr. Pratt’s career, which encompasses his creative passion and desire to make a difference in the world, will resonate with many of the graduates.

The Commencement ceremony is outdoors, even in a light rain and cool temperatures, so please plan accordingly. I promised the seniors that the construction of the new classroom building would not result in our moving the ceremony off the Quad. However, we will reverse the orientation and install a special stage at the south end of the Quad. Graduates will process from the Ames Library Plaza as usual and be seated on the lawn, facing McPherson Theatre, Presser Hall and the Ames Art Building. Faculty and audience seating will be available on the lawn behind the graduates and on both sides of the Quad. This change will further enhance the unique contributions of the Class of 2012 (and perhaps earn them special notoriety in the annals of campus history).

In the event of heavy rains or weather alerts, we will relocate the ceremony and reception to the Shirk Center. Since seating in the Shirk Center is very limited, we are enclosing tickets for reserved seating in the Performance Arena with a mailing to the families of the graduates (students are receiving this information by e-mail). Additional indoor seating venues and other important information are included in a brochure mailed to families and posted on the Web site for students and family viewing at Updated Commencement information, including many of the organization activities that are scheduled for the weekend, will be posted on the Web site from now through April 27.

Following the two-hour ceremony, join us for our traditional strawberries and scones reception on the Quad or in the Shirk Center Activity Area. The faculty and staff who guided your son or daughter over the past few years will greet you at sites identified by signs indicating the name of the department. They join with me in celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2012 and offering their best wishes. We all hope to see you on April 29.

(Please send your questions to or call 309.556.3151)

Richard F. Wilson