Campus set to celebrate presidential inauguration

It’s been 19 years since Baker University has inaugurated a new president, and a whole week of events will commemorate the occasion.

Beginning Oct. 16 with a reception, the inauguration activities will include celebrations with each campus. The week will also include the tenth anniversary celebration of Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel’s presence on campus. Vice President for Endowment and Planned Giving Jerry Weakley said having a whole week of events planned will be unique to Baker because of the celebration of the chapel.

“Since it is planned in (the chapel anniversary) week, it is truly a Baker event,” Weakley said.

Students at the College of Arts and Sciences will celebrate with a “Late Night Fiesta with Dr. Pat” on Oct. 22. The event begins at Collins House, allowing students get a view of the president’s living quarters. The other part of the evening will include food, prize winning and the chance to ask questions of University President Pat Long.

“The real kickoff for the week will be with these students,” Long said. “I want the statement to be about the importance of our students so we made sure students had their own event. It is going to be a fun night.”

Dean of Student Development John Frazier said the event is being planned to give a good opportunity for students to get acquainted with Long.

“We’ve got hours invested in planning. It only happens once in a while for Baker,” Frazier said. “We have the opportunity to put our best foot forward and are trying to make this as comfortable and personable as possible.”

The official inaugural ceremony will occur Oct. 26 in Rice Auditorium. Weakley said backup facilities are being arranged to contain the 1,000 to 1,200 people that are estimated to attend.

“I hope students will take the opportunity to see an event such as this and to have the opportunity to be in such a distinct group. We will have representatives from other colleges and learned societies in the United States. This will be the 28th inauguration of a president, and there is a history that goes along with that.”

Long said she is looking forward to celebrating Baker with the events surrounding inauguration day.

“I’ve been saying all along it’s not about me; it’s about Baker University and this time in our history.” Long said. “I think it’s going to be fun.”