Inauguration of Emporia State’s 17th President Friday

September 9, 2016

EMPORIA, Kansas — The community is invited to an inauguration celebration of Allison Garrett, Emporia State University’s 17th president on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. A pre-inaugural event as well as post-inaugural events also will be held.

“A Presidential Inauguration is an opportunity to celebrate the transition to the next era for Emporia State,” said Jennifer Denton, inauguration co-chair and associate vice president for advancement. “It was also important to President Garrett that we highlight the talents of our faculty and students, so we’ve kept that in mind when planning the Inaugural events.

The inauguration is a partnership between the community and Emporia State.

“So many people have had a hand in the planning of this event and we know that it will be an event to remember,” said Jim Bartruff, co-chair of the Inauguration Committee. “A committee comprised of community, faculty, staff and support personnel have all come together to make this a real community celebration. We are hoping for good weather and a real celebration of all that is great about Emporia and our university.”


Pre-inaugural event

Prior to the ceremonies on Friday, a pre-inaugural event will be held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15, in Albert Taylor Hall. U.S. civil rights attorney Fred Gray Sr., who stood alongside Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will give a special presentation.

Gray began a dynamic civil rights career in 1954, less than a year after completing law school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His first civil rights case was representation of Claudette Colvin, a 15-year old African American high school student who refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1955.

In December 1955 he represented Rosa Parks who was arrested because she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

He also was the first civil rights attorney for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and took several civil rights cases. Gray was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr., in the 2014 movie “Selma.”

Copies of Gray’s autobiography, “Bus Ride to Justice,” will be available for sale before and after the event in the Plumb Hall Rotunda. Gray will sign books after his presentation.

“We are so fortunate to have Fred Gray coming to campus. He is a treasure of American history,” Denton said.


Inauguration Ceremony

Garrett will be formally installed during a tradition-laden inauguration ceremony at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, in Albert Taylor Hall.

The Department of Music will provide pre-inaugural music as well as the fanfare and processional during the ceremony. Nathan Dale Short, senior theater major from Paola, will present a reading and James Ehlers, associate professor of art, created an original artwork to commemorate the event. In keeping with tradition, the ceremony will include the pageantry of academic regalia from Emporia State faculty as well as delegates attending as representatives of other higher education institutions.

Those in academia who attend the ceremony, whether faculty from ESU or administrators and faculty of other institutions, can choose to represent the institutions for which they work or even from which they have graduated. Aside from Emporia State, institutions will have one delegate.

These delegates then process into the ceremony — and are listed in the program — in the chronological order of the institutions’ founding.


Post-ceremony reception

After the ceremony, the community is invited to join visiting dignitaries and the campus and the Emporia community for a reception and celebration inside Webb Hall of the Memorial Union. The reception will be at 3 p.m.

“We look forward to hosting everyone from students to community members to those delegates who will come in from around the country in a casual environment with plenty of food and fun,” Denton said.


Post-Inauguration Events

Several post-inauguration events will be held and also are open to the public. The first event is the second Children Inspire Glass Project, which will be unveiled from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday in the ESU Children’s Art Gallery on the second floor of Visser Hall. Join the community children who imagined creatures, drew them, sculpted them and wrote about them before ESU art faculty and students brought their characters to life through glass forming.

More than 20 local businesses are planning promotions on Friday and Saturday for the inauguration and Family and Friends Day beginning 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday. For more information and the most up-to-date list of participating businesses, go to or call the Emporia Main Street Office at 620-340-6430.

"Emporia Main Street is excited to help celebrate President Allison Garrett's Inauguration and Emporia State,” said Casey Woods, executive director of Emporia Main Street. “Rallying our member businesses to extend hours and offer promotions for the weekend is just one way we are able to show our support to the university. We understand the best way to foster the town and gown relationship is for people to experience what the University and our locally-owned businesses have to offer when they visit our community."

A full day of activities is planned for the annual Family & Friends Day at Emporia State:

  • John Blaufuss Scholarship Family Day 5K Run & 1 Mile Walk, check in 8 a.m.; run/walk starts at 8:30 a.m., East entrance of Memorial Union
  • Buzz Around, Memorial Union, Butcher Hall, Visser Hall and HPER Building, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Come Buzz Around Campus! Enjoy discovering more about Emporia State University. Explore a variety of academic programs and services housed in Butcher Hall, Visser Hall, and the newly-renovated HPER building. Pick up your passport in the Memorial Union Bookstore or at any of the activities along the adventure route. Search for objects in scavenger hunts, play games, discover our campus’s ‘hidden’ gems, and much, much more. Complete your passport and turn it in to the Memorial Union Bookstore where you can collect free student tickets to the ESU football game and you can register to win an array of great ESU prizes!
  • Football game, 2 p.m., Welch Stadium
  • Football Traditions BBQ Event, 5 p.m. social, 6 p.m. dinner, Anderson Building. Advance tickets are $50. To purchase advance tickets, call the Memorial Union Ticket Office at 620-341-6378 or visit the Ticket Office in Union Services, located on the east end of the main level of the Memorial Union.


About Allison Garrett

Garrett began her tenure Jan. 4, 2016.

Garrett brings to Emporia State a wealth of experience in higher education, government and corporate America. She worked nearly four years as executive vice president at Abilene Christian University, five years as senior vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma Christian University and three years as associate professor of law at Faulkner University.

Earlier she had spent 16 years as an attorney, two years as a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, and 10 years with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where she rose from corporate counsel to vice president and general counsel of the corporate division and Vice President of Benefits Compliance and Planning.

Garrett earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Oklahoma Christian University, followed by a juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law and a master of laws degree in securities regulation from Georgetown University Law Center.

A native of Neosho, Missouri, Garrett moved to Emporia with her husband, Chip, and youngest son, Noah, a senior at Emporia High School. The couple has two other children. Daughter Tori is a junior at Oklahoma Christian University. Oldest son, Ethan, is an accountant and lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with his wife, Danielle.



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