Fall commencement splits into two ceremonies


Due to the increasing number of students graduating, the university is making changes to its commencement ceremonies.

Beginning this December, the university will host two commencement ceremonies. Both ceremonies will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the University Center. The first ceremony consisting of students graduating with degrees from the College of Science and Technology, the College of Education and the College of Business will take place at 10 a.m. The second ceremony consisting of students graduating with degrees from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will begin at 5 p.m.

Dr. Kay Maurin, the assistant vice president for enrollment management, explained what motivated the university to split the commencement exercises.

“We have a strong number of students who are graduating this semester,” said Maurin. “Graduation is always such a big deal for students. So, as a result, we have an abundance of guests at commencements. We wanted to make sure that our graduates and our guests have a quality experience. So, we felt that dividing the ceremony into two would make it much easier for the guests and graduates and lead to a much better experience.”

Splitting the commencement into two exercises is a practice used by other universities with a large number of graduates.

Maurin described the anticipated benefits from this decision based on the results from the other universities that have adopted this practice.

“We anticipate that splitting commencement into two will lead to students and guests having a much easier time parking and travel to and from commencement,” explained Maurin. “Since there will be half as many guests, it should also be easier for guests to find seating inside the arena. We would also be better able to control the crowd and manage the event. Hopefully, we will also have a shorter ceremony.”

After last spring commencement ceremony, the university started thinking about splitting the ceremony.

“Last May, we implemented a few new elements into commencement to assist with the guest experience such as adding additional ushers, revamping signage and adding a bag check,” said Maurin. “After that commencement had concluded, we realized that while those things worked, we still had an abundance of people in attendance. We thought that it would be better for it to split. The university started looking at different options on how to do that and seeking input from students, guests and faculty.”

Though there will be two ceremonies taking place, nothing will be different about commencement.

“The morning and the evening commencement will be the exact same ceremony,” said Maurin. “What happens at one exercise will also happen at the other. No one will be missing anything from graduating at one ceremony instead of the other. The program will not really differ from any other typical commencement from years past. The only difference will be that there will be fewer people in attendance and both ceremonies will be shorter.”

Maurin assured that students will be made aware of which ceremony they are participating well in advance.

“We have already updated the website, and we are in the process of sending communications to students who plan to graduate this semester,” said Maurin. “We have already sent out a couple of announcements regarding this out to the general student population who are registered for graduation this year. We will have a table and more information at “Grad Fair” as well. We want to make this transition as smooth as possible for both our students and our guests.”

For any further questions regarding the two commencement ceremonies, visit the Office of Records & Registration page on the university website.