FAQ’s about Baccalaureate
What is Baccalaureate?
The word derives from Medieval Latin baccalaureātus (influenced by bacca, berry , and laureātus, crowned with laurel), from baccalārius, bachelor
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:
1: the degree of bachelor conferred by universities and colleges
2a : a sermon to a graduating class
b : the service at which this sermon is delivered
Why a service?
A Baccalaureate service was originally held to honor the attainment of knowledge and goes back to the time when, in western civilization, the Church (as in Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox) was the main location for all knowledge. The invention of the printing press made the ability to share that knowledge much more accessible. Nevertheless, knowledge and piety in western civilization have long been linked together.
Thus, this worship service to honor graduation has continued to be a connection to that time period and its values of knowledge and piety.
The Mount Union tradition
Mount Union’s practice is to have such a service and we try each year to incorporate a celebration of knowledge with our recognition of the value of our religious heritage as a United Methodist-related institution of higher education.
We have on occasion included other religions in the service through poetry, a special reading or music that is appropriate, though the service is still primarily Christian. This is an accurate reflection of our student religious preferences which are heavily Catholic and Protestant. As our numbers of students of differing religious traditions continues to grow, it will be an exciting opportunity to create an experience that reflects our overall culture.
Is it required?
The faculty is required to attend Baccalaureate and Commencement and graduating seniors and their families are strongly encouraged to attend as well. Student leaders are invited to lead parts of the service and they work hard each year to create a service with meaning for all who attend.