A new tradition was born Thursday night at Webster University, one inspired by the values and achievements of students throughout this global university: A “December Toast” to celebrate Webster’s mid-year graduates.
Although academic calendars follow the customary fall-to-spring cycle, and the majority of students complete their degree at the end of the academic year in May, many Webster students actually complete their degrees throughout the year.
As many as 2,000 of the 7,000-plus annual graduates finish over the summer, in October or December. Commencement ceremonies at Webster campus locations reflect this yearlong cycle of lifelong learners.
The first December Toast was held Dec. 13 at the home campus to celebrate the 1,000-plus mid-year graduates in the St. Louis area.
Students and their friends and families were welcomed for formal remarks in the Grant Gymnasium before heading to a reception upstairs in the University Center. The night was a chance for families to celebrate, for students to thank their faculty mentors, and for deans and leaders to congratulate and meet the latest members of an elite global network of accomplished and connected Webster alumni.
Toasts from President Beth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster were followed by academic leaders from each College and School: Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications; Thao Dang-Williams, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; Peter Sargent, dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts; Brenda Fyfe, dean of the School of Education; and Pat Masidonski, associate dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology.
“We wanted to take this moment to honor your accomplishments, congratulate you on your achievements, and wish you well,” Stroble said, before noting that all are welcome and encouraged to return for the annual Commencement ceremony at The Muny in May.
Likewise, each dean encouraged their new graduates to stay in touch and share the news of their next success.
Before heading upstairs, many sharp-dressed graduates paused to take pictures with their family members in front of the Webster logo or by the individual College and School banners.
Family members beamed with pride. Graduates shined with bright smiles. Their friends cheered with excitement.
And as another calendar year comes to a close, Webster faculty, staff and administrators had a chance to pause and enjoy the outcomes of their efforts to prepare students for individual excellence and global citizenship.
View more photos from the evening in the December Toast album at the Webster University Facebook page.