Celebrating 100 years with MSU Texas: Commencement

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:36 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 a look at the commencement ceremony - everything from the robes, to the speaker, to caps that show off individual student personalities.

Since the 1900s, the colors on the robes and hoods worn by faculty have had meaning.

“Now these are our specialty robes, the Board of Regents are the ones who wear these,” Debbie Barrow, director of system and governmental relations, said. “Everyone else like the faculty will have a black robe. Sometimes the colors here are blue, depending on what degree they got. White is the arts and humanities, fine arts is brown, journalism is crimson, it just depends.”

For May 2022’s ceremony, MSU Texas alumna Major General Dawn Ferrell will deliver the commencement address. She was recently inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and has had a career with the Texas Air National Guard for nearly 38 years.

“It seems like each president has a preference for how they want to choose the speaker,” Barrow said. “Right now, we have a commencement committee. We gather recommendations from the different colleges and try to find someone we think will be inspirational. We wanted to find an alum who had been successful and done great things, so that’s how we made our selection.”

A few years ago, there was a long-awaited change in policy that allows graduates to decorate their caps.

“I think that’s something that really added a lot to our ceremony because they can be individualistic if they want to and it really just shows off what they’re proudest of,” Barrow said.

And while it’s a lot preparation, all of the details and hard work behind the scenes make for a special day.

“Commencement is one of my most favorite times of the year, whether it’s in may or December, it’s such a great celebration,” Barrow said. “I love seeing all the families, some students have 25 guests if they can. It’s such a great time of celebration. I just think it’s a great chance for our students to celebrate, and I hope that they enjoy it.”

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

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