Students attend Grad Fest events to pick up T-shirts and caps and gowns on John P. Monahan Plaza and in the Anderson Student Center on May 3, 2024, in St. Paul. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

St. Thomas Celebrates Undergraduate Class of 2024 With Senior Days

As the temperature warms and the countdown to summer begins, the University of St. Thomas makes the most of the days left until graduation with Senior Days, a campus tradition for seniors.

The festivities started May 3 with Grad Fest, an event where undergraduate students picked up their caps, gowns, class giveaway, and “Tommies Forever” T-shirt that they wear during the March Out of the Arches. In addition, seniors enjoyed refreshments on the plaza, took photos, and connected with offices on campus including the Alumni Office, Senior Gift, and Study Abroad. There were tables for questions related to commencement weekend, as well as information about events for Senior Days.

Erin Whipkey (Brandon Woller ’17/University of St. Thomas)

In her role, Whipkey is involved in various traditions across campus, such as Senior Days. Throughout the school year, Whipkey worked with a group of seniors to brainstorm ideas for this year’s celebration.

When Kate Kapsner ’24 was asked by Whipkey to join the Senior Days Committee, she was eager to be part of the planning experience. “It’s necessary to have student voices in something that’s supposed to be representative of student interests,” Kapsner explained.

Kate Kapsner ’24 (Brandon Woller ’17/University of St. Thomas)

As student body and Undergraduate Student Government president, Kapsner wanted to provide input from her peers as she and the other students in the committee thought of event ideas that their classmates would enjoy.

The committee has several events planned throughout May for seniors, including graduation cap decorating in the create[space], a cookout on the football field, live music in Scooter’s with Twin Star Rocket (a local band featuring St. Thomas professor Gino Vannelli), an early morning senior sunrise, DIY activity in the create[space], and a trip to Target Field to watch the Twins baseball game.

Madeline Mussay ’24 (Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas)

Madeline Mussay ’24 has worked with STAR (St. Thomas Activities and Recreation) for three years, including this year as president, and was excited to work with other students for Senior Days. “Planning events has always been something I love doing, and it’s great that I can plan events for myself and my peers,” she said. “I was excited to just be able to be a part of that.”

Morgan Ray ’24, who transferred to St. Thomas in her junior year, wanted to get involved in planning events for Senior Days after seeing the festivities last year. She said it’s a way to be a voice for her classmates.

Morgan Ray ’24 (Brandon Woller ’17/University of St. Thomas)

Ray also encourages rising seniors to join the group for next year. “We are an open committee, and we love to have people give their opinions and ideas that they want to see.”

Within the celebrations is a chance for graduating students to reflect on their time at St. Thomas at Campus Ministry’s Senior Night.

Marta Pereira (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

“Senior Night brings together Tommies about to graduate for a meaningful time of prayer and fellowship,” Marta Pereira, associate director of Campus Ministry, explained. “Students have the opportunity to reflect in gratitude for the gift of their years at St Thomas, the blessing of friendships, their educational experiences as well as to pray for their transition to professional life and unfolding their calling in the world.”

In addition, seniors hear about the challenges and blessings of transitioning after graduation, the importance of finding a faith community and continuing to grow in relationship with God as they serve others. The night includes worship music, prayer and fellowship. Senior Night is an ecumenical event, to which all seniors are welcomed, as well as those in the St. Thomas community who would like to pray with and for the graduating seniors. The event will take place May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Senior Days concludes with the traditional March Out of the Arches event where alumni, families and friends are invited to attend. Graduating seniors are encouraged to check out all the events offered during Seniors Days. All Senior Days events and activities can be found on TommieLink. Information regarding commencement ceremonies can be on the commencement website.