With graduation less than a month away, seniors will soon be walking across the stage of FMA to receive their diplomas. But before donning their caps and gowns, seniors have the opportunity to relax and mingle with BJU administrators and fellow classmates at a picnic hosted in their honor this Thursday on the front campus lawn between the Alumni Building and Wade Hampton Boulevard.
The senior picnic, which serves as an informal send-off for the future graduates, dates far back into BJU’s history; Dr. Bob Jones III remembers the picnics taking place when he was a young boy. Traditionally the event is held at the president’s house, but this year the picnic will be held in the grassy area on front campus since President Pettit’s yard on back campus is not large enough to accommodate the number that typically attends.
Along with the president, many other administrators attend the picnic each year. Dr. Gary Weier, executive vice president for academic affairs, Mr. Marshall Franklin, executive vice president for operations, and Mr. John Matthews, vice president for advancement and alumni relations, are among those who regularly come to interact with the soon-to-be alumni. Numerous former faculty and staff members will also be invited to attend, including the chancellor Dr. Bob Jones III.
The picnic is a drop-in event that lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., allowing the seniors to come and go at their own convenience. Kyle Wilcox, executive assistant to President Pettit, said the picnic’s organizers are working on possibly having live music at the picnic, and party favors will be handed out to the seniors as they leave.
Wilcox said the Pettits are eager to greet seniors at the picnic. “Dr. and Mrs. Pettit want this to be a fun and casual way of saying ‘Congratulations!’ to all the seniors for their hard work and upcoming graduation,” Wilcox said.