Celebrating 100 years with MSU Texas: Senior Walk

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - News Channel 6 is celebrating a century with Midwestern State University, and we’re continuing our tribute to the university’s past, present and future with the senior walk.

It’s a tradition that Dr. James Johnston, interim president of MSU Texas, started in 2017, and it has since expanded to include the Spirit of the Mustangs. The four horses are strategically placed to represent a student’s journey through college.

“Essentially, that plaza is to represent the four class ranks, the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior horses,” Johnston said. “The water feature itself is your educational journey, that fluid and changing path.”

The tradition starts during freshmen year.

“It kind of takes you back to time and place,” Johnston said. “I remember when I was a freshman, that nervousness, can I do this and do I belong here.”

Freshmen students will touch the tail, signifying their commitment to earning their college degree. The sophomore horse is a little more comfortable.

“The junior horse, and really that eye on the prize and really focused on I can make this,” Johnston said.

It then comes full circle senior year with the senior walk.

“The senior horse, that leap into the future and that achievement,” Johnston said. “There’s a celebration by college and then the dean brings their graduating seniors to the Spirit of the Mustangs plaza. They lead them across, they touch the nose of the senior horse just celebrating the completion of that university degree.”

The seniors get to celebrate the end of their college careers with the people who’ve been there with them the whole way.

“I also like it because the deans get to walk with us,” Corby Chaney, Mass Communication senior, said. “We’ve been with them for the last four years and so it’s also saying like a farewell to us and them.”

“The senior walk has always been a last walk with the seniors,” Johnston said. “The last celebration with the seniors. Typically, graduation weekend is with family and friends and all the celebrations so it’s one last time for us to celebrate together.”

The tradition helps connect students and alumni to the university.

“Traditions are what connect, ultimately, our alumni to time and place,” Johnston said. “The students will reflect back on visiting that place and some transitional period in their education. Those are the things and that’s what we want is a connection point from somewhere down the road in their life remembering fondly their time at Midwestern State University.”

The Spirit of the Mustangs sculptor Vic Payne said out of the four horses, the senior was the hardest to make since it was a foot higher than the rest.

All MSU Texas centennial celebration stories can be found by clicking here.

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