Commencement Lagniappe

For those of you who are familiar with New Orleans, you may have heard the term lagniappe thrown about.  According to the online dictionary, it is used to “denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean ‘an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.'”  A little something extra.

Well, here’s your lagniappe of the day for Commencement.  In addition to the excellent coverage from our News team and Wake Forest Magazine team (as seen on this page), you can also view a time lapse video of Commencement.  This starts pretty close to 6 am and runs through the entire ceremony and recessional.  Each second of the video is roughly four minutes of real time, according to our University Photographer, Ken Bennett, who arranged this (and all the other excellent photography of the day).

If you watch closely, you can see that the morning started with some gloomy looking clouds (I was a bit worried about rain, if you want to know the truth).  Then the clouds give way to clear sky, and you can see the sun rising across the grass in front of the empty seats where the graduates will sit.  The sun creeps from right to left in this image.  Then once the graduates arrive and the ceremony is underway, if you watch the sky over Reynolda Hall there is this great collection and passing of big puffy clouds, sort of like a dance in the sky.

For those of you who have not been to a WFU graduation (yet!), you’ll notice a break around the one minute mark where it looks like everyone is up and total pandemonium (at this speed at least).  That’s the break where we let the graduate students and their families move on to their respective diploma ceremonies.  Order resumes and people sit down after the short break and you can see the undergrads walk across the stage.

This video is only a minute and a half long, and around 1:23 you can see the tossing of the mortar boards in the air.  And then it’s over.  Nearly six hours of the Commencement experience, compressed into 90 seconds of time lapse video.  I think that’s pretty cool.

And since we’re using the term lagniappe today – here’s your little something extra for reading all of this.  What looks like it could either be outer windows or wall materials are going up on Farrell Hall, the new building for the Schools of Business.  Right now there are tons of panels being assembled and put into place, and it looks like giant yellow post it notes all over the facade.   The “skeleton” phase of the building is ending, and people strolling campus will no longer be able to see through the building to daylight on the other side.

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