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Dec 13, 2011 3:59 PM by Lauren Wilson

LSU graduation makes changes to tradition

Some 1,726 potential graduates will be recognized during LSU's 276th commencement exercises on Friday, Dec. 16. This number includes about 1,355 bachelor's degrees, 259 master's and professional degrees and 112 doctoral degrees.

Those graduating this fall will experience something new at commencement ceremonies. The Faculty Senate and university registrar recently approved new commencement gowns, which will be worn by LSU graduates for the first time.

The undergraduate gown is purple with the LSU logo embroidered on the chest. The graduate gown remains black, but also features the LSU logo. The doctoral gown is purple with gold accents and the LSU System logo embroidered on the front. The hood colors vary depending on degree.

Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope has been working to improve the significance of commencement ceremonies. "We wanted to make the apparel a symbol," says Cope, "and what better way to do that than use LSU colors and logo."

According to Cope, the gowns may be different colors, but they are all "green" as they are made of recycled material. "I feel students welcome something that recognizes their achievement," said Cope.

There is no main ceremony for December commencement, but every degree candidate's name will be called individually at separate ceremonies for each college. The college ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at various locations on campus.

The LSU Honors College has 15 degree candidates expected to graduate during fall commencement. Two of these students are expected to graduate with Upper Division Honors Distinction and one with College Honors Distinction, which also includes Upper Division Honors, for participating in a specific honors program and successfully completing and defending an undergraduate thesis.

Some 85 potential honor graduates will be recognized during the ceremonies for having high GPAs and will be recognized as magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude. Also included in the honor graduates are the 10 potential University Medal recipients, who are expected to graduate with perfect grade point averages. These 10 students will also be recognized at a special ceremony at the LSU Faculty Club on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m. Photos will be taken of the medalists prior to the ceremony. Media wishing to take photos of the medalists should arrive at 3:15 p.m.

This semester, five graduates will be awarded 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.

Degree candidates who took part in ROTC programs will be recognized for being commissioned into the U.S. military during ceremonies on Thursday, Dec. 15. At 10 a.m., four students who participated in the Army ROTC program will be commissioned at a ceremony in the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium in the Energy, Coast & Environment Building. At 2 p.m., three students who participated in the Navy ROTC program through Southern University will be commissioned at a ceremony on the LSU Parade Ground.

Some noteworthy LSU athletes expected to graduate this semester include:

-Former LSU football players and members of the 2007 BCS National Championship team Demetrius Byrd, who played from 2007-2008, and Josh Jasper, the only Consensus All-America placekicker in school history, who played from 2007-2010

-Current football players Drew Alleman, Will Blackwell, Joey Crappell, Stefoin Francois, T-Bob Hebert, Mitch Joseph, Jarett Lee and James Stampley

-Soccer's Mary "Mo" Isom, 2011 LSU Homecoming Queen, and 2010 Louisiana Player of the Year Allysha Chapman

-Others notable athletes graduating include baseball's Daniel Bradshaw and Ben Alsup; women's basketball's Lasondra Barrett; men's basketball's Storm Warren; track & field's Gabriel Mvumvure (NCAA Champion), Brittani Carter, Brittany Hall, Zedric Thomas, and Josh Dominguez; men's swimming's Hannes Heyl; women's swimming's Jane Trepp; men's golf's Ken Looper; gymnastics' Samantha Engle and Staci Schwitkis; and men's tennis' Sebastian Carlsson.

For more information on the times and locations of the college ceremonies, visit www.lsu.edu/commencement.

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