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Appendix C3

Commencement and Academic Ceremonies Committee

FUNCTION: To advise the Faculty Council, the president, and academic deans on policy matters, including selection of speakers, in planning graduation, Honors Day, and other formal academic ceremonies.

The Commencement and Academic Ceremonies Committee met once and conducted business via email during the academic year to discuss the organization and planning of formal academic ceremonies.

In the fall semester, the committee focused mainly on one piece of business: the 2009 University-wide commencement speaker. The committee forwarded suggestions of commencement speakers to the president’s office, which were added to the existing list maintained by the Office of Relationship Management and University Events.

Committee business in the spring semester was conducted via email communication. The following issues were addressed:

  • Commencement Theme. The theme for the May 2009 Commencement is “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” as noted in President Powers’ commencement message (Appendix C3).
  • University-wide Speaker. Robert Rodriguez, writer, director, producer, and co-owner and president of Troublemaker Studios, will be the commencement speaker.
  • Marshal. Dr. Yolanda C. Padilla (social work and chair of the Commencement and Academic Ceremonies Committee) will serve as University Marshal and will preside at the University-wide academic 2009 ceremonies.
Electing a New Chair. Dr. Padilla polled the committee via e-mail, and Dr. Cynthia S. Salinas (curriculum and instruction) was elected chair for the 2009-10 year.

Honors Day. The 61st annual Honors Day celebration recognizing College Scholars and Distinguished College Scholars was held on April 4, 2009, at the Bass Concert Hall. This year, 5,011 students were given the honorary title of College Scholar and 1,579 were recognized as Distinguished College Scholars. Two University-wide ceremonies were held to accommodate the large number of student honorees and their guests who attend annually. Colleges and schools also host complementary activities to recognize their scholars individually.

Terri E. Givens (vice provost for undergraduate studies and international programs) delivered the Convocation address at both ceremonies.

Dr. Padilla and Dr. Terri Givens served as University Marshals for the ceremony.

Yolanda Padilla, chair

Appendix C3

2009 Commencement Message from the President

The Eyes of Texas are Upon You
I invite you to join us for the 126th Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin. Our Commencement ceremony is one of the most uplifting and enjoyable events I have ever experienced. In a festive evening of music, tradition and spectacular fireworks, our graduating students unite with classmates, family and friends to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the class of 2009.

When people think of The University of Texas at Austin, they recognize it is a unique place. They know that the “Eyes of Texas” – and the world – are upon each and every one here.

For 126 years, UT has represented this state’s greatest aspirations and noblest dreams. The University has inspired generations of outstanding students to pursue their ambitions and to make valuable contributions to their communities and to our state, our nation, and beyond.

I congratulate the graduates of 2009 and offer my sincere appreciation to parents, friends and family members for their roles in shaping the lives of these extraordinary students.

William Powers, Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin

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