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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Shelton ‘really stoked up’ about grad. ceremony

    On Saturday, he will put on his robe and adjust it in the mirror, just like about 6,000 others from the UA.

    This is hardly President Robert Shelton’s first graduation ceremony, but it is his first spring commencement as the head of a university.

    “”I’m really stoked up about it,”” Shelton said. “”There’s a great sense of pride.””

    Beyond researching, wooing big-name faculty members and fundraising in higher education, Shelton said graduation ceremonies have been helpful reminders of what universities are supposed to do.

    “”You look out and you see all those students,

    You look out and you see all those students, and you realize that’s the legacy of this university.– Robert Shelton

    and you realize that’s the legacy of this university,”” he said.

    The UA celebrates its 136th commencement Saturday, with one ceremony at 9 a.m. and another at 1:30 p.m. in the McKale Center.

    Richard Carmona, the former United States Surgeon General and current professor in the College of Public Health, will be the keynote speaker at both ceremonies.

    There will be 4,557 undergraduate degrees awarded, along with 1,253 master’s degrees and 272 doctoral degrees, according to numbers released from the UA.

    Shelton said his graduation from Stanford in 1970 was much smaller, with only about 1,000 students attending.

    The timing of his graduation wasn’t exactly optimal, he said, because it happened during the free speech movement and the Vietnam War.

    “”There was a lot of tension in the air,”” Shelton said. “”People were celebrating, but they weren’t really happy.””

    Shelton said he’s glad there isn’t that sort of political tension today.

    Shelton said he has had a lot of fun going to his children’s graduations from Stanford and seeing the continuing tradition of “”wacky walkers,”” soon-to-be graduates who are allowed to do just about anything they want before the beginning of the ceremony.

    On one occasion, Shelton said he saw a group of students with small fish atop poles being chased around by a student with a larger fish and scattering and hurrying across the field where the ceremony took place, until finally the smaller fish organized into a giant fish and chased away the student with the large fish.

    Shelton said he wishes he could see more of such cleverness at the UA, instead of tortilla-tossing. He said he isn’t much of a fan of the UA tradition of throwing tortillas at graduation, which he saw firsthand at December’s commencement ceremony.

    “”It just seems nonsensical to me, that’s all,”” Shelton said.

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