IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Commencement marshals connect to academic tradition
"Wow, this is what it's all about." –A sentiment echoed time and again when you speak to CU-Boulder's commencement marshals, employee volunteers who make the campus commencement ceremonies run smoothly.
"I've worked on the administration side of campus the entire time I've been here and volunteering to be a commencement marshal really brings home the amazing fact that I work at a university," said Erin Frazier, a coordinator in the Office of Community Relations. Frazier has volunteered for both the spring and winter commencement ceremonies for the past five years and is a relative newcomer among the cadre of experienced commencement marshals.
Representing that tier is Bill Eberle, lab coordinator in the department of chemistry and biochemistry. Eberle has volunteered as a commencement marshal for over 20 years and in his position of overseeing the senior chemistry teaching labs, he gets to know some of the soon-to-be-graduating students. "It's gratifying to see these students I've come to know participate in the graduation ceremony," he said.
An opportunity to join in on the pomp and circumstance is just part of the appeal, according to Director of Commencement Sarah Hallock Adderholt. "You are participating in an event where everyone is happy," she said. "It's really a celebratory atmosphere."
The fun atmosphere belies an immense amount of planning for each and every graduation ceremony. While many procedures and plans stay the same from year to year, the commencement marshals are relied on to adapt to each year's unique circumstances and provide a fun and respectful atmosphere for the ceremony itself. Roles in the campus ceremony are diverse, from helping pass out programs to friends and family in the stands, ushering the graduates to their seats, or to perhaps corralling the occasional beach ball. Hallock Adderholt said that one of her biggest challenges is fitting volunteers and their expertise into the event's plan. "I want our volunteer marshals to enjoy the event and for the talents they bring to be utilized," she said.
Planning is in full swing for CU's upcoming Spring Commencement on May 9, 2008. "Volunteer marshals are integral to the success of commencement and I encourage faculty and staff to participate as their schedules permit," said Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "I hope our campus supervisors can facilitate employee interest." Those interested in joining the festivities should contact Sarah Hallock Adderholt via email by April 11.
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