Today’s Commencement marks a new milestone in IWU history. Due to the pandemic, Titans are gathering online across the globe to celebrate. This is definitely a first! This post traces the other ways in which IWU Commencement has changed over the years.
Although Commencement is sometimes held inside due to inclement weather, IWU has a tradition of holding the ceremony outdoors going back to the early 1900s. The second building IWU built served as backdrop and it was positioned on the northern end of what we now know as the Quad. It was first known as Main and Old Main (1870), the Hedding Hall (1936) and finally Duration Hall (1943).
Sometime between 1960-1970 the location changed to McPherson Beach, on the north side of the School of Theatre Arts.
In 1990, the location for Commencement changed from McPherson Beach to its present location.
The backdrop for Commencement from 1990-2011 was Sheean Library until it was razed in 2011 and replaced with State farm Hall, which was built on Sheean’s footprint. This location was named Kemp Plaza in 2013, the same year that State Farm Hall opened.
Below are some fun facts about IWU customs and graduation requirements. In looking at how they have changed over the years, just imagine what will happen in future Titan times!
Did you know that
- Commencement festivities used to last for a week? They involved performances, Baccalaureate sermons, Class Day celebrations (for Juniors AND Seniors), alumni reunions, and dinner at the President’s house.
- students used to be required to deliver a speech, without notes, as part of the ceremonies? The text had to be 1000 words long and a faculty member had to hear it in advance!
- classes sometimes issued their own elaborate invitations, created Class mottos and chose Class colors?
- alumni from the 1930s-1966 had to pass a swimming test?