Spring 2016 Commencement
On May 14th, 2016, 1,096 students graduated from Texas Southern University, making the class of 2016 the largest graduating class in school history. The youngest student graduating was 20, while the oldest graduating student was 82 years of age. Coincidentally, they both were named John. Among the notable graduates were past SGA President Terrance Bolton, current SGA President Crystal Owens, and current Mr. & Ms. Texas Southern University Brian Eashman and Channing Briggs.
The graduation began promptly at 9:30 a.m. Families and friends of the graduates were prompted to arrive as early as 8:30 as the H&PE arena would reach capacity quick. It didn’t take long for the majority of the seats to fill up, even causing security to stop letting people in temporarily. However, the reactions from the families outside and even some of the graduates forced them to reverse the decision and let people in. One student told security, “I’m not walking across the stage until you let my mom in”. The keynote speaker at the graduation was Reverend Marcus Cosby, who is the lead pastor at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, located directly across the street from the university. Most students at Texas Southern find Wheeler Avenue as their church home.
Earlier in this semester John Rudley announced that he would be resigning from the position of University President at the end of the academic school year. Multiple people came to speak on his behalf at the graduation including Provost Ward, sharing their sentiments about President Rudley. Following that, Student Government Association President Crystal Owens gave her parting speech.
First the Law School graduates were the first to walk across the stage. Then walked the Graduate School and after that the undergraduates began to walk beginning with the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences and ending with the College of Science and Technology. Most students simply just walked across the stage, shook President Rudley’s hands and took the picture. Some of the Greeks decided to put on a show, and hit their respective strolls once they walked across the stage. The graduation ended around 12:30 p.m.
Once the graduation ended the graduates along with family and friends proceeded to walk outside and begin taking pictures. The Greeks performed their annual graduation prayers and rituals, while others sat back and watched. Graduates were in tears, realizing that they had just accomplished a major milestone in their lives.