Graduating in Red

Adam Compton talks about the process of instituting red gowns at graduation.

Interview on 2011-11-18


00:00:00.000 At the same time I was working with Jay Dawkins on graduation gowns.
00:00:05.991 It was something that had started when I was in student government. We went to-.
00:00:10.200 I loved going to the CALS agrilife council meetings
00:00:13.586 because you got a free dinner and there was always people there with ideas and everything else,
00:00:17.357 But one person was like: Why don't we wear red when we graduate?
00:00:20.999 And it kind of just put a light bulb off in my head.
00:00:24.443 It was something that-. I wasn't sure how to make the moves happen yet,
00:00:29.786 so as senior class president I was like, that's one thing I want to work on.
00:00:33.912 I went to my brother's graduation when he graduated from Carolina and they graduate in a sea of Carolina Blue.
00:00:39.684 Then everything kind of started happening with the administration changes, with the Easley issues and everything else,
00:00:47.732 so it was-because it kind of was on the chancellor's side,
00:00:52.239 and with Oblinger leaving and all the other mess it just wasn't a priority and shouldn't have been a priority for the university.
00:00:57.424 So once Chancellor Woodward got in at the time I sat down with Jay Dawkins, who was now the senior class president at that time,
00:01:05.237 and Jim Ceresnak, the new student body president, who was also Jay's roommate,
00:01:10.601 and we started talking about it and I said, guys, this is something we need to make happen.
00:01:17.447 All of us wear red every day.
00:01:21.379 Our whites are stained pink from washing so many different red t-shirts in with our whites.
00:01:26.968 It's a passion that we bleed red.
00:01:31.042 We brought it up at chancellor's liaison and he was like,
00:01:35.306 What do you mean you don't do this? Why not?
00:01:39.882 He was like of course we're going to make this happen. There's no question; this is going to happen.
00:01:46.197 One of the coolest moments, because he was just like, yeah, that's silly that you're not already graduating in red.
00:01:53.802 Then he goes, it's going to start at the May graduation,
00:01:59.042 and Dr. Stafford's looking at me, and Dr. Stafford knows I'm graduating in December
00:02:03.435 and Dr. Stafford, after the meeting, says, "Yeah, it doesn't sound like you're going to get to graduate in red. You'll be the last one to graduate in black."
00:02:10.181 I said, "Yeah, but I'm just glad that it's happening."
00:02:15.777 Dr. Stafford calls me in a couple of weeks later and says, "Hey-." No, I actually go to meet with the chancellor a couple of weeks later,
00:02:22.717 and the chancellor goes, "Dr. Stafford told me that you were kind of upset that you weren't going to get to graduate in red."
00:02:29.389 He goes, "I'll make you a deal. If you help me get these red robes in place, you get student feedback,
00:02:38.053 you know, do we want the little things here, whatever.
00:02:42.502 You deal with that stuff and you get this to happen by May,
00:02:46.142 I'll let you wear a red robe at your December graduation."
00:02:50.263 I was like, sold. Done deal. There's no doubt about it.
00:02:54.493 So I was on the committee and I took the robes and showed them to students and got the feedback
00:03:00.109 and everything and we picked what we wanted and worked with the committee to develop it,
00:03:04.567 and I was able to graduate in red and be the first student to graduate in red, which was one of the coolest things, I think, of my college career.