The making of winter commencement

Jeniece RomanGeneral Assignment Reporter

Patrick Dilger, chair of the University Commencement Committee, said the major difference between the May and December commencement is the location.

“There’s less planning to do for the December ones because they’re smaller and also we have a kind of template that we use every year,” said Dilger.

The undergraduate commencement in May is held at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, which holds 8,000  people, according to Dilger. He said the December undergraduate commencement, which will take place on Friday Dec. 16 at 2 p.m., is held at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts.

“It’s different in scope and size,” said Dilger. “Although they do really nice events in the Lyman center. They do a very nice job so it’s still, it’s no less of an event, it’s still your graduation. We do make every effort to make it feel that way.”

According to Dilger the planning for the May commencement usually starts in January and for December, it started in late September. He said there are more things to consider when the ceremony is on campus.

“There are more things to take into account,” said Dilger. “There are added logistical things beyond the order of exercise but the order of exercises is the same.”  

Dilger said that in last years’ attendance for December 316 students attended the ceremony, 314 the year before and 258 the first year. He said that initially the December commencement was for students that needed a few more credit in order to graduate and it was decided to hold December commencements on campus in 2013 to accommodate students who were completing their degree requirements in the fall.

“The big challenges in Lyman are having enough tickets to give away for family and friends,” said Dilger. “It’s easier for the graduates because there are not that many graduate students graduating at this time.”

According to Dilger, because the December commencement is held at Lyman Theater, of which the capacity is roughly fourteen hundred, there is limited space and therefore a limit of two tickets per student.

“In this day and age, people might have extended families or they might have two sets of parents, that kind of thing,” said Dilger.  “So it’s tough if you can only bring two people.”

Dilger said the university does their best to accommodate the students and does give out extra tickets if they have them. He said that the commencement ceremony is the pinnacle of a student’s college career and it is something to celebrate no matter where, but that the Lyman center has its benefits.

“It’s more intimate and by being on campus, it’s got that campus feel,” said Dilger. “You can connect with your faculty, mentors, etcetera perhaps beforehand or afterwards.”

Dilger said that no matter what time of year it is, it is always a thrill for him to see students going up and getting their diploma.

“The reward is just seeing our students walking up and achieving their goal. That’s the big thing,” said Dilger “It’s a big rush.”  

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana – Photo Editor


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