LSU to Hold 280th Commencement Exercises May 16 and 17

05/14/2013 04:13 PM

BATON ROUGE – Approximately 3,772 students are expected to graduate during LSU’s 280th commencement exercises on Thursday, May 16, and Friday, May 17. During the main ceremony on May 16, the academic procession will begin at 1:45 p.m., and ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Cokie Roberts, a political commentator for ABC News and senior news analyst for National Public Radio, will deliver the keynote address.

“We are pleased to welcome Cokie Roberts to LSU to speak at our May commencement ceremony,” said Interim LSU System President and Interim Chancellor William Jenkins. “She brings years of experience covering some of the most exciting and noteworthy times in America’s history, and we look forward to the insight and knowledge she provides to our graduates as they are embarking on the next stage of their lives.”

During the main ceremony, doctoral candidates will receive their diplomas individually, degrees will be conferred for all students and University Medalists will be recognized. There will be open admission to the main ceremony.

Diploma ceremonies for each college will follow the main ceremony and will be held at various times and locations around campus. During those ceremonies, each graduate’s name will be called, and diplomas will be handed out individually on stage. For more information on the times and locations of the college diploma ceremonies, go to

A number of diploma ceremonies will have keynote speakers this year, including:

  • Jenkins speaking at the College of Human Sciences & Education ceremony at 6 p.m. on May 16 and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on May 17, both in the Maravich Assembly Center;
  • James Painter, executive vice president of Cobalt International Energy Inc. and division manager for the Gulf of Mexico, speaking at the College of Science ceremony at 9 a.m. on May 17 at the Maravich Assembly Center;
  • Architect R. Allen Eskew speaking at the College of Art & Design ceremony at 9 a.m. at the Student Union Theater;
  • LSU Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Stuart Bell speaking at the College of Agriculture ceremony in the Student Recreational Complex at noon on May 17;
  • Liz Lerman, choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance, speaking at the College of Music & Dramatic Arts ceremony in the Bo Campbell Auditorium, Cox Communications Academic Center for Athletes at noon on May 17;
  • Don Lemon, journalist and host of “CNN Newsroom,” speaking at the Manship School of Mass Communication ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on May 17 at the Student Union Theater.


Diploma ceremonies for respective colleges may or may not require tickets for admission. Those wishing to attend diploma ceremonies are asked to check with the student(s) or contact the respective college(s) for further information.

Jenkins will preside over the main ceremony and will recognize the LSU class of 1963 and the Golden Tigers, or those who graduated at least 50 years ago. LSU Board of Supervisors Chairman Garrett H. “Hank” Danos will confer degrees, and LSU Faculty Senate President and Professor of English Kevin Cope will serve as mace bearer.

The processional and recessional music will be provided by the LSU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Donald McKinney. Ariana Wehr Harris, candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts, will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the LSU alma mater. The invocation and benediction will be given by Father Robert Stine of Christ the King Catholic Church and Student Center.

During the main ceremony, honorary degrees will be awarded to Jenkins for his service to LSU and to U.S. Air Force Major Gen. Jasper Welch, who graduated from LSU in 1952 and went on to a distinguished career in the Air Force, serving as chief of theoretical physics at the Air Force Special Weapons Center, as well as the National Security Council.

Also during the main ceremony, Lt. Col. Mary “Marston” McKeon, USA commander with AFROTC Detachment, will recognize the newly commissioned Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC cadets. The cadets will be officially commissioned at a separate ceremony on May 16 at noon in the Bo Campbell Auditorium in the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.

LSU will also honor about 32 graduating students with the LSU Distinguished Communicator Award. These students earned this honor by meeting high standards set by faculty in various colleges and by the LSU Communication across the Curriculum program. The students earned high grade-point averages in communication-intensive courses – based on written, spoken, visual and technological communication – and have built digital portfolios displayed as public websites that include their communication projects from courses, internships, leadership roles and public service.

About 419 students are expected to graduate with honors, including 54 students who are potentially slated to receive University Medals for graduating with the highest undergraduate grade-point average in the class.
This semester, 42 students are expected to earn College Honors and two students are expected to earn Upper Division Honors Distinction from the LSU Honors College. These students participated in a specific honors program and successfully completed and defended an undergraduate thesis.

More than 550 African and African-American students will have the opportunity to participate in the LSU African-American Cultural Center’s 17th annual Robing Ceremony on Thursday, May 16, at 9:30 a.m. in the Bo Campbell Auditorium at the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes. During the event, degree candidates receive the traditional African Kente stole in LSU colors to signify the completion of their academic journey. The Robing Ceremony is sponsored by the African-American Cultural Center; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; the Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach; and the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.

For more information on commencement, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013