Aug. 13, 2004

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Contact: Ann Eversole, Student Life, (785) 864-4060.

2 freshmen to carry torch into stadium for Traditions Night ceremony Aug. 16

LAWRENCE -- Two representatives of the University of Kansas freshmen class will receive a torch in a ceremony symbolizing the passing of knowledge through generations during the 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, Traditions Night ceremonies in Memorial Stadium.

Freshman Taryn Leigh Slawson of Evergreen, Colo., whose Jayhawk traditions date back five generations, and Shawn Adam Giess of Arnold, the first in his family to choose KU, will carry a torch into Memorial Stadium at twilight before a gathering of about 3,000 faculty, students and guests.

Fifth generation Jayhawk Slawson's great-great-grandfather, M.G. Slawson, graduated from the KU law school in 1897.

The lighted torch that Slawson and Geiss will carry symbolizes knowledge that will be passed down KU's Mount Oread by upperclassmen.

Traditions Night is a part of Hawk Week, a series of orientation events for students before classes begin Thursday, Aug. 19. KU's Traditions Night program has received praise as an exemplary practice that actively engages students in learning about the culture and traditions of the campus. A report from Indiana University Institute for Effective Education Practice noted that Traditions Night brings freshmen into the stadium for an introductory ceremony where they also will participate in a commencement ceremony in a few years.

Diana Carlin, graduate school dean and professor of communication studies, will emcee Traditions Night, which will open with a performance of the KU Marching Band directed by conductor James Hudson. The one-hour program will close with Richard Johnson, dean of students; Kellie Bauerle, Marching Jayhawks drum major, and the KU spirit squad leading all 3,000 attendees intoning the "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chant, and the singing of the alma mater and the KU fight song.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway; James Carothers, professor of English; Steve Munch, student body president; Marlesa Roney, vice provost for Student Success; Jim Marchiony, associate director of athletics; and Bonnie Henrickson, women˙s basketball coach, each will speak briefly.

The passing of the torch ceremony will begin about 8:55 p.m. with president of the Mortar Board honor society, Aimee Richardson, bringing the torch from the Rock Chalk Cairn to pass it to the senior class representative, Melva Landrum. As Landrum proceeds down the hill toward the stadium, she will pass the torch to the junior class representative, Nick Arthachinda. He will pass the torch to the sophomore representative, Trent Overbey, who will pass the torch to the freshman representatives, Slawson and Giess, who will carry it into the stadium.

Decades ago, in ceremonies similar to Traditions Night, a torch was carried annually from the Mortar Board Fire Basket at North College, KU's first building, to the Rock Chalk Cairn, a stone heap created through efforts of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society members. The original fire basket is located on a commemorative plot near Gertrude Sellards Pearson and Corbin residence halls, the site of the Old North College. The cairn, now a fire grate, sits near the flagpole between Memorial Stadium and the Campanile. KU staff reintroduced the torch passing ceremony in the 1980s as part of the Traditions Night program.

Hometown information for students in the torch passing ceremony follows.

From Lawrence
Nick Arthachinda junior, majoring in business administration son of Chansia T. Arthachinda; graduate of Lawrence High School

Kellie Bauerle, senior, music education major, daughter of Wayland and Patsy Lankford; Lawrence High School graduate.

Aimee Nicole Richardson senior English major, daughter of Earl and Teresa Richardson; Lawrence Free State high School graduate.

From Arnold
Shawn Adam Giess, freshman planning to major in pharmacy, son of Rod and Marcia Giess of Arnold. He is a Ransom High School graduate and he has also attended Dodge City Community College.

From Berryton
Trent Jacob Overbey sophomore majoring in history son of Tim and Teresa Overbey; graduated Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh and attended Allen County Community College in Iola.

From Evergreen
Taryn Slawson, freshman majoring in art in the School of Fine Arts, is the daughter of Craig and Denise Werkema Slawson. She is a graduate of Evergreen High School. Her father is a 1980 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and her mother attended KU in 1982. She is the granddaughter of Donald and Judith Garver Slawson of Wichita. Her grandfather is 1955 liberal arts and sciences graduate and former member of Kansas Board of Regents and her grandmother attended KU in 1957. Her paternal great-grandmother, Lois Moon Garver was a 1931 education graduate and her paternal great-grandfather, Charles Slawson, a 1920 graduate in liberal arts and sciences.

From Minneapolis
Melva Marie Landrum, senior, majoring in strategic communications in journalism, daughter of Janet Odugunwa; graduate of Patrick Henry High School.


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