The Way Back: Don’t Be a Stranger

Karen Schneider ’89 announces winner of Life Membership during the Chairman’s Senior Send-Off.

Not long after this issue reaches your doorstep, thousands of soon-to-be-graduates will swarm to the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center and the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to celebrate earning a degree from the greatest university in the world.

The Texas Exes has long been involved in the occasion, whether through the Senior Send-off pictured above, or in various iterations of today’s Great Texas Exit event. Both events began under the leadership of Roy “RV” Vaughan, Life Member, as executive director of the Ex-Students’ Association.   

The first mention of the Senior Send-off in the Alcalde was in the May|June 1978 issue. The event was co-sponsored by the Student Involvement Committee, a group of campus leaders representing organizations from Texas Orange Jackets to the Longhorn Band, to Silver Spurs and The Daily Texan. Together, these students worked with the Texas Exes to host a celebration ahead of graduation—usually in late April—to acquaint seniors with the Alumni Association.   

Commencement Open House was introduced in 1983 as a come-and-go destination for students and families during graduation weekend. Grads could pose for pictures with Bevo and update their post-grad addresses with the membership department. The event bloomed to a multi-day affair, until it was reduced to a three-hour, tailgate-style party in 2014—years before the University would move the commencement ceremony across the street to the stadium.  

Both events always involved free glasses of champagne, and for a time, both advertised that a lucky attendee would be gifted a Life Membership in the Association.  

“‘Senior Send-off’ means we’re sending them into the world with our blessing,” wrote the Alcalde in its 1987 May|June issue. “They use their degrees as passports to every civilized section of the world. Then again, a few of them have been known to end up in College Station.”  

CREDIT: Texas Exes




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