By Andrew Kutzer
The presidential inauguration, officially swearing in Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, will be held 11 a.m. on April 15.
The event will be broadcast live by KUTV, streamed online, and televised in Rickenbach learning center and available on the KU cable access channel.
“Given the fact that it’s also our 150th anniversary, it makes it a little extraordinary,” said Bob Watrous, dean of students, on the event coinciding with the sesquicentennial inauguration.
The inauguration will be held in Schaeffer auditorium, with seating for 825, and open to the public. Center seating sections in Schaeffer are being held for invited guests, faculty, and alumni participating in the parade.
Side section seating will be open to the public and any overflow of audience members will be allowed to watch on TV, according to Santos.
Classes and administrative offices will remain open during the inauguration. “The world cannot stop. The [inauguration] is part of the world but it cannot stop,” said Watrous.
At the ceremony, the chancellor of PASSHE, Frank Brogan, and the chairman of the board of governors, Guido Pichini, will officially install Dr. Hawkinson as the university president, according to Santos.
Speakers at the event will include: SGB President Joe Scoboria, KU senate president Jennifer Schlegel, KU
alumni association president Kathy Federici, Kutztown mayor Sandy Green, Council of Trustees Chair Jack Wabby.
Pichini, a KU alumnus of 1974, will receive an honorary doctor of public service degree from KU during the inauguration.
Western Illinois University president, Jack Thomas, will attend the event as a guest speaker. Hawkinson worked as provost for WIU before coming to KU.
An alumni parade “of classes” will march at the ceremony, representing 53 graduating classes as far back as 1935. The parade will be led by the inauguration platform of invited guests and faculty.
“It’s really a celebration of the appointment of the new president and a celebration of the future,” said Santos.
A new medallion, a gift from the university foundation, and new ceremonial mace, created by a KU student, is being made in honor of the ceremony, according to Watrous. “With the inauguration happening during the sesquicentennial, we made it the centerpiece of our sesquicentennial, for the spring in particular,” said Santos.
Hawkinson worked as provost for Western Illinois University from 2012 to 2015. Hawkinson started at WIU as a professor, before becoming vice president for budget, planning and personnel and then associate provost. He served as an infantry officer and public affairs officer in the U.S. Army.