February 19, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 10

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    Baumann to act as master of ceremonies for events, convocation as Marshal

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    The University will have a new ceremonial leader for its convocations and other ceremonies beginning Wednesday, July 1. Earlier this month, President Zimmer appointed Catherine Baumann, Senior Lecturer in Germanic Studies and the College, to serve as the University Marshal.

    Baumann, who directs the College’s German language program and is also Director of Assessment for the Study of Languages, will serve a three-year term in the honorary position, which was established in 1895. She will succeed Lorna Straus, Professor Emerita in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division and Organismal Biology & Anatomy, who has served as University Marshal since 2001.

    As University Marshal, Baumann will act as the master of ceremonies not only for the University’s convocations, but also for important University events. She will work closely with David Fithian, Secretary of the University, whose office oversees convocations, prize ceremonies and other special events involving the President or the Board of Trustees.

    “I’m delighted that Cathy Baumann has agreed to serve in this role,” said President Zimmer upon her appointment. “She is very engaged with students and appreciates the role ceremony plays in the life of a university.”

    An important part of Baumann’s duties will be to coordinate the work of Student Marshals, a role bestowed on third-year students who have excelled academically and demonstrated outstanding commitment to extracurricular activities on campus and in the community. An honorary position, Student Marshals wear distinctive red robes and help lead degree candidates during the convocation procession.

    “It is with great pleasure and a real sense of responsibility that I accept the appointment of University Marshall,” said Baumann, who has been at the University since 1999. “I look forward to both carrying on and working to create traditions at the University of Chicago.”