Legacy Ceremony honors the family tradition of BJU

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Legacy Ceremony honors the family tradition of BJU

Photo of the 2013 legacy breakfast. Photo by Derek Eckenroth

The annual Alumni Legacy Ceremony & Reception is a special occasion honoring graduating students who have at least one parent who has also graduated from BJU.

This year’s ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 5, immediately following the baccalaureate service.

Students who attend the ceremony will receive a medallion to wear on the day of commencement.

This year there are 245 eligible seniors, including those who finished in December.

The ceremony will be held in Rodeheaver Auditorium to accommodate the large number of participants.

Last year, when it was still being held in Stratton Hall, 680 people attended, leaving standing room only.

The location change will allow for fellowship in a more comfortable, less formal atmosphere.

It’s a very different event from graduation. Most of the participants—parents and family members of graduating students—share the special commonality of being past BJU graduates.

During the ceremony, President Pettit will make a few  brief remarks.

Following his remarks, each eligible student will receive a medallion, signifying the family history of BJU graduates.

The medallion, bearing a BJU emblem attached to a dark green ribbon, is given to students by their parents.

Bette Uwarow, the membership coordinator for the Alumni Association, said it’s a very special moment for parents of the graduating students. “They pass [on] the legacy,” she said.

Following the ceremony, there is time for fellowship.

Jonathan Pait, manager of events and services for the Alumni Association, said, “It’s an opportunity for some parents to meet again with fellow classmates for the first time since they graduated.”

Although many students are eligible, only those who attend the ceremony will receive a medallion. But the focus isn’t on the award; it’s all about the BJU history families share.

“It’s a momentous occasion,” Uwarow said.

Besides honoring the student, the ceremony is a way to honor their parents for allowing their child to come to BJU and graduate.

The Alumni Legacy Ceremony & Reception focuses on the ceremony followed by a light reception afterward.

“When they shortened commencement activities and baccalaureate moved, we were able to rethink where we would place the ceremony,” Pait said.

The ceremony moved to a more convenient date last year to accommodate scheduling changes.

The event began in 2005 under the leadership of Bud Bierman, then director of the Alumni Association.

“It’s a very neat alumni experience,” Uwarow said.

Although the event usually includes only second or third generations,  there have been as many as four generations in attendance.

The Alumni Legacy Ceremony & Reception is much more than a ceremony;it’s also a way for students to appreciate the way BJU has influenced the lives of their families. As Uwarow said, “They’re standing where one of their parents stood.”