The University held its Eighth Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service May 3. The service was focused around a sermon delivered to graduates participating in the event. During the service, various denominations of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Native American and Baha'I religious leaders blessed graduating students.
Prepared by the Universal Society of Hinduism in collaboration with the University's Indian Student Organization, the event began with traditional lamp-lighting before a statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts. President Rajan Zed opened the service with a recitation of Gayatri Mantra, the most sacred mantra of Hinduism from the oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda.
"The purpose of the baccalaureate service was to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they had a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success," Zed said.
The graduating class was blessed in the traditional Hindu style, complete with applying a religious mark, the tilak, on their foreheads. There was a participatory reading of Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit, a keynote address by a Swami, a Mormon choir, a classical dance of India based on shlokas, traditional lamp-lighting and a blessing through a Cherubic Hymn. Renowned Hindu monk Swami Vedananda blessed the graduates with wisdom from ancient Hindu scriptures. Special certificates were issued to graduates with the parting advice "dharma chara," meaning "practice righteousness."