Presidents inauguration pushed

By Mike Disman, Beacon Staff

In an attempt to orchestrate a more grandiose ceremony than previously proposed, the committee planning the inauguration of President M. Lee Pelton delayed the event another five months.

William Gilligan, the head of information technology and chair of the inauguration committee, said the president — in active duty since July — will be formally sworn into office on Sept. 14, 2012.

“One of the things that presidents can do at an inauguration is to make it a showcase for the institution,” Gilligan said in an interview. “And sometimes presidents want to wait a little while so they can say more pertinent things about the institution.”

The event will keep with tradition and feature speakers from other universities. He said the committee is selecting speakers and declined to name who would take the podium or what schools may join the ceremony.

The initial date that was set for March, typically one of the busiest periods of the school year and coldest months of the calendar year, and Gilligan said inclement weather and scheduling conflicts could have disrupted the inauguration.

Pelton’s ceremony will be the first since President Jacqueline Liebergott, who retired in June,  was inaugurated in 1993. Liebergott was also inaugurated a year after taking office.

Along with the formal inauguration, the days preceding the ceremony will allow the Emerson community to put their talents on display for visiting speakers and other university dignitaries with events such as symposiums, discussion panels, or readings.

“While the purpose of the inauguration is to celebrate and acknowledge the change in presidential leadership, I believe that it also affords us with a special opportunity to shine a bright light on Emerson’s future and highest aspirations,” Pelton wrote in an email to the Beacon.

He added that postponing the event “would create the best possible program for thoughtful reflection on Emerson’s role in higher education, the nation, and the world.”

The delay means that next year’s freshmen will enter their college careers in the midst of celebration, and this year’s freshmen will become better acquainted with the President and the college.

“I think it gives us an opportunity to make it the very best showcase for the college we can,” said Gilligan.