Salute to Seniors Class of 2011

Mike Crissman

Kent State seniors eager to celebrate their upcoming graduation will be able to do so at the Alumni Association’s third annual Salute to Seniors on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Home Savings Bank Plaza in downtown Kent.

Carolyn Drummond, public relations major, is one of 320 graduating Kent State seniors who have registered to attend the free event.

“I’m ready to celebrate my success,” Drummond wrote in an e-mail. “It’s going to be fun to have a last hurrah with all my best friends and hang out downtown. It will be another thing to cross off my senior bucket list.”

Salute to Seniors will feature free food catered by Cajun Dave’s, a DJ, caricature artist, handwriting analysis, henna tattoos and a photo booth. Students who attend will get a free Salute to Seniors T-shirt and the chance to win prizes provided by the Alumni Association and local businesses in Kent, including an Apple iPad, gift cards, diploma frames, gift baskets and much more.

Carrie Circosta, assistant director for student and recent graduate programs, said the purpose of the event is to “build excitement for graduation.”

“It’s going to be a happening place Friday night,” Circosta said. “It’s really just a time to celebrate and relax. We’re trying to make this moment more special for them.”

Emily Carle, senior communication studies major, wrote in an e-mail that she heard about Salute to Seniors on Facebook and quickly became excited for it.

“I’m expecting to mix and mingle with my fellow classmates, eat, get free stuff and learn how to stay involved after graduation,” Carle wrote. “I’ve been working toward (graduation) for the past four years, and I’m excited to celebrate my accomplishments and prepare for the next steps.”

Salute to Seniors will include a senior toast and a candle lighting ceremony, marking seniors’ transition from students to alumni.

“It’s going to be a reflective moment,” Circosta said. “It’s gonna be kind of deep. We might have to bring out some tissues.”

Rahim Mangalji, integrated life sciences major, is another senior attending Salute to Seniors Friday night. He wrote in an email that celebrating his graduation will be “an extremely bittersweet moment” for him.

“Kent usually does pretty well with these events,” Mangalji wrote. “I’m expecting them to pull out all the stops downtown and truly make this a celebration.”

Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected].