Members of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor teaching staff and students listen to a speech during convocation Wednesday morning.

Rusty Schramm/Temple Daily Teleg

BELTON — In a procession of colorful robes, tassels and regalia that reminded some of the young audience of Harry Potter, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s professors took their seats for the convocation ceremony.

With music from UMHB’s woodwind quintet giving a heavenly aura to the crowded Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center and Arena, the ceremony marked the beginning of the university’s 169th year.

“Convocation is a term derived from Latin that literally means to call or to come together,” President Randy O’Rear said. “In this arena, we have a mixture of students, alumni, faculty and staff members who come from different backgrounds, different locations and different cultures. However, today we all come together, or convocate, as part of the Crusader family.”

O’Rear spoke to the university’s largest freshman class in its history. The total enrollment is expected to be pushing 3,700, he said.

“That’s worth clapping for,” O’Rear said. “We are all members of a unique family that has pursued or helped others pursue an education for life and experience for a lifetime. We are University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.”

Diana Garland, dean of Baylor University’s School of Social Work, spoke about the life and faith of the biblical characters Abraham and Sarah, and how this faith is applicable to the UMHB student body.

“There is no shortcut when it comes to waiting on God for what comes next,” Garland said.

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