Registrar ensures Investiture plans proceed on pace
Success, they say, is in the details. When it comes to planning an event like an investiture of a university president, the details can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, Lamar University has Registrar David Short and others to lead it through the logistical labyrinth.
Short, and a number of LU faculty and staff, are helping the university prepare to celebrate new leadership with the investiture of Kenneth Evans as the 15th president of the university. The investiture will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. in the Montagne Center. A public reception will be held after the event to give the public opportunity to meet President Evans and his wife, Nancy.
“We are making special efforts to really make this an outstanding day in the history of the university,” Short said as he thumbed through his growing notebook on the project.
“While in many ways a presidential investiture is similar to the commencement programs we hold three times a year, it is unique enough that it definitely means we can’t take anything for granted,” Short said.
Organization is the watchword of the day, and, with each page turn, a new diagram, list or illustration emerges – seating charts, arena layouts, designs for banners, lists of platform party, orders for regalia – all part of the details essential to a smooth-running event. An investiture also has a vocabulary of its own – gonfalon, mace, regalia – that are part and parcel to the program.
Investiture means to formally invest a new leader with the authority of office, including the proper symbols and clothing. The term comes from the Latin verb, vestire, which means to dress, and vestis, which means robe. Use of the term for the formal installation of new leadership dates to feudal times. The presidential robe, medallion and mace will be conferred at pivotal moments in the inauguration ceremony, Short said.
As the day draws closer, the tasks change. Design and production of new gonfalons and banners, design and printing of programs, advertising designed and placed, news releases written and disseminated, music written and rehearsed, planning for live video with closed captioning, arrangements for signing, parking and security – the list is long.
“Thankfully, we have a really great team at work on pulling everything together,” Short said. That team includes special assistants to the president Kate Downing and Courtney Horton, the registrar office staff, associate vice president Juan Zabala and several members of Lamar’s advancement division, Montagne Center staff, Lamar’s music faculty, and members of the Texas State University System office as well.
Short has developed the order of the processional march that includes 226 faculty members, 43 members of the platform party, and 30 student ambassadors. In addition, 40 to 50 honors students will assist the six university marshals – traffic directors – in ensuring all find proper places. There will only be one “walk through” before the event, so communication and planning are essential.
But there is a lot of work that must be done long before there is a processional. In addition to the regents’ robes already on hand in the registrar’s office, several will have to be sized and ordered.
In addition to the participation of scores of honors students and LU Student Ambassadors, other students will be featured in the program through their participation in the band and choir.
While the recessional will signal the end of the investiture program, and the transition to the reception giving the public an opportunity to great President Evans and his wife, Nancy, Short’s work is not yet complete.
“We’ll be busy behind the scenes gathering robes and making sure that things are returned to the right places,” he said. That ensures that the hundreds of Lamar graduates, and their friends and family, will be able to revel in the pomp and circumstances fitting for their accomplishment at the next commencement exercise.For more information, visit lamar.edu/investiture or call (409) 880-8419. Funding for the investiture generously provided by Gay and Bill Scott.