Black Hills State University will hold its 157th commencement ceremony Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. in the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center. This year there are more than 350 candidates for graduation.

For the first time individuals who cannot attend the commencement ceremony will be able to view it live on the internet. Details will be announced on the BHSU website.

The University is beginning a new tradition this year with the introduction of the University’s ceremonial Mace at the commencement ceremony. The mace, which was commissioned during BHSU’s Quasquicentennial year, will add to the dignity and grandeur of the commencement ceremony.

Constructed by Lynn Fox, a carpenter and senior building maintenance worker at BHSU, the University Mace is made from the African mahogany wood salvaged from the bleachers in the former Cook Gymnasium that was built in 1953. Cook Gym was previously located south of the Library and was removed in 2003.
The BHSU Mace includes a metal inscription of the BHSU logo on either side. The top is a four-inch flame-shaped glass finial with the green and gold colors of the University.

Fox, who has built many beautiful wood structures for the University, is known for his meticulous attention to detail and his efforts to include historic elements whenever possible.

“We wanted to create a University Mace that would have historical significance as we commemorated our first 125 years and move into our future,” President Kay Schallenkamp says. “The mace, which symbolizes the academic authority of Black Hills State University, will serve as a physical element to remind us of our unified vision and our strategic goals as we continue in our quest to transform lives.”

Historically, a mace is a symbol of authority dating from medieval times when knights carried them during processions with their kings. The mace later became a ceremonial symbol of leadership at academic processions. The University Mace will be displayed throughout the year in a custom-built stand in the Executive Conference Room in Woodburn Hall.

At the 2009 commencement ceremony, Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, the 2007 Distinguished Faculty member who is presenting the commencement address, will carry the mace as he leads the procession of administrators, faculty and, graduates. Dr. James O. Hansen, South Dakota Board of Regents member, will give a greeting from the Regents. Following the presentation of diplomas by Dr. Kay Schallenkamp, BHSU president; April Meeker, registrar; and Dr. Dean Myers, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, the graduates will be welcomed into the Alumni Association by Sandy Mattern, president of the Alumni Association.

Candidates for the spring 2009 BHSU graduation include 74 master’s degree candidates, five bachelor of arts candidates, one bachelor of applied technical science, 12 associate degree candidates, 59 bachelors of science in education candidates, and 243 bachelor of science candidates.

Other commencement events include an honors breakfast at
8 a.m. at the Pangburn Dining Hall to recognize all cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude graduates. Amber Brodersen, chemistry major from Wolsey, and Trent Waage,
pre-medicine major from Aberdeen, will be honored as the highest ranking female and male graduates respectively.

A reception for all graduates will be held in the Young Center field house following the ceremony.