HARRISONBURG, Va., May 4, 2011 -- The James Madison women's lacrosse team departed early Wednesday afternoon for Towson, Md., to begin preparations for the Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
But before boarding the bus for the trip to Towson, where the CAA Tournament will take place on May 5 and 7, there was a bit of business to take care of.
On the sidewalk outside JMU's Godwin Hall, standing next to the team bus, JMU President Linwood H. Rose conducted an informal commencement ceremony with the six senior members of the Dukes' lacrosse team.
Dressed in his official academic regalia, Dr. Rose said "by the authority vested in me by the commonwealth of Virginia... I hereby declare that you are graduates of James Madison University with all the rights and privileges afforded you."
With Head Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe introducing each of the graduates, who were wearing their purple caps and gowns, Dr. Rose presented each with a diploma. The seniors, all smiling broadly, then tossed their caps into the air in celebration of their achievement.
The seniors will miss Thursday evening's Senior Convocation because the second-seeded Dukes will be playing No. 3 seed William and Mary in a 7:30 p.m. semifinal that evening.
Should JMU win its semifinal contest, the seniors would then miss Saturday's commencement exercises, as the CAA championship game is scheduled for Saturday night.
The Dukes' seniors who "graduated" Thursday afternoon include five players and a team manager. The players are health services administration major Diana Apel (Glenwood, Md./Glenelg), interdisciplinary liberal studies major Mary Kate Lomady (Abington, Pa./Abington), communication sciences and disorders major Caitlin Sullivan (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison), marketing major Lexy Schwabenland (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) and kinesiology major Meghan Wienecke (Baltimore, Md./Towson), and the team manager is studio art major Lauren Wojcik (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson).